Food demand in Australia

​Examining recent trends and issues in Australia's food demand is important for two reasons.

  • Food security—a key role of government is to ensure there is a high level of food security in Australia. In general terms, food security refers to the adequate and reliable provision of food that is safe, nutritious and affordable. As a net exporter of food and food technology services, Australia also contributes significantly to global food security.
  • Economic opportunities for farmers and other food providers—household food consumption in the domestic market accounts for around two-thirds of Australia's indicative food production (based on value), although food exports have recovered strongly in recent years.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) conducts a household expenditure survey (HES) every five to six years, providing data on food expenditure trends over time and across key population sub-groups (where households, for example, may be grouped according to gross household income or household net worth). A key feature of Australia's household food expenditure since 1988-89 has been the trend away from home cooking toward meals out and fast foods (see figure); the share of meals out and fast foods in total food expenditure increased from 25 per cent in 1988-89 to 31 per cent in 2009-10 and 34 per cent in 2015-16, the latest year available.

Australian food security and the COVID-19 pandemic

The latest ABARES Insights says Australia does not have a food security problem, with Australia exporting about 70% of agricultural production and importing only about 10% of our food.

Food demand in Australia: trends and food security issues 2017

A key focus of this report is to examine important aspects of the Australian Government's policy framework that contribute substantially to Australia's high level of food security.

Food demand in Australia: trends and issues 2018

In this report updated information on trends is provided (including 2015-16 HES data) and issues cover food security in low-income households (especially those highly reliant on government pensions and allowances), nutrition security, and food losses and waste.

Last reviewed: 16 April 2020
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