From cookies to red wine, the rising economies of India and China are feasting on Australian fine food and wine. Food and beverages exports to India rose from A$115 million in 1997-98 to A$201 million in 2006-07.
Tim Harcourt, chief economist of Austrade, the Australian government's export development agency, told IANS: "In terms of food, our markets have traditionally been in high-income countries like Japan, the US, the UK, New Zealand and Hong Kong. Now developing economies like India with large middle class consumer populations are also creating demand, especially for fine food."
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The Fine Food Australia event to be held from Sep 24 to 27 at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre will attract buyers from around the world as Austrade observes major demographic changes of food consumption worldwide.
Austrade's national manager (food and beverages) Lyndel Jack says: "Austrade has identified significant opportunities for Australian food and beverage exporters in the emerging market of India with its large population and growing disposable income."
Around 250 key buyers from Asia, the Middle East, North America and the Pacific region will participate in the Fine Food event, where businesses from all over Australia will showcase a wide range of food and beverages.
Federal Minister for Trade Warren Truss said: "The Australian wine industry wants to turn the micro wine market in India into a mass market. For example, South Australia's Bleasdale Wines has reportedly predicted that India will one day be its largest wine market."
India is attracting more Australian business prospects. According to Austrade research conducted with the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there are over 1,500 Australian businesses currently exporting to India.
Australian companies like Gloria Jeans and Cookie Man are doing well in Indian retail markets through franchising arrangements.
Australian exports to India increased 37 percent in 2006-07 as against 22 percent in 2005-06. In the past five years, Australian exports have increased at an average annual rate of 41 percent.
Earlier this year, a new Australian government initiative, Utsav Australia, was launched to raise awareness of Australian business and industry among the Indian business community.
Australian merchandise exports to India are worth AU$10.1 billion.
Austrade has identified six key industry sectors for targeted development in India including advanced manufacturing and aviation, consumer retail, food and beverage, ICT, infrastructure, mining and resources and services.
Major Australian exports to India include non-monetary gold, coal, copper ores and wool. Major Australian imports from India include pearls and gems, jewellery, floor coverings and crustaceans.