With global beef demand at an all-time high, Australian producers are well-placed to take advantage of the growing market for high value products, according to the newly-appointed Meat & Livestock Australia managing director Jason Strong.
Speaking at last week's two-day Herefords Australia Breed Forum, he told delegates that demand for beef products around the world was currently 70 million tonnes and this figure was projected to grow, mainly as a result of increased consumer affluence.
"We are finding that some of our best markets, such as Singapore, don't export big volumes of beef from us but what we do send there is very high value," he said.
"So we should be focused on finding consumers with an ability to pay for high value products and that's where we need to position ourselves in the global market."
He said although domestic beef consumption had declined during the past 20 years, it was mainly due to an increase in price.
"We hear a lot about the decline of domestic beef consumption but the statistics don't show that the price of chicken has stayed the same over the same time while the price of beef has increased three times," he said.
"More than 50pc of the reason why consumption has gone down is because beef has become more expensive.
"We shouldn't be happy about lower consumption, but if I can have one or the other I am going to take price because the demand for our product globally is greater than we can support
"So if that means less goes domestically and more to export at a higher price then that's something we should get used too."
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But he said with this growing demand came greater awareness from consumers and the community about what beef producers do and how they operate.
"There has been a big change in what information people would like and we had some good examples of this recently, with activists protesting in major cities and at some processing plants and farms," he said.
"Largely their impact and actions were negative, but we have to be careful we respond in an appropriate way.
"The standing of beef producers among consumers is very positive, more than 90pc of households are regular beef eaters.
"What MLA hasn't done is communicate this very well to our levy payers and that's a miss on our front that we are working on.
"Universally people want good quality product, they want it to be safe and natural and how we demonstrate that is going to become more and more important."