Australia’s food and grocery manufacturing sector could shed 130 000 jobs over the next decade, as retail demand is increasingly filled by imports and retailers’ private label products.
A report for the Australian Food and Grocery Council said that without policy reforms, Australia’s food manufacturing sector will become much less competitive by 2020, as falling growth translates into major job losses nationwide.
It said the highly concentrated retail sector needs tax incentives for investment, skills development and a level playing field.
“Industry turnover is forecast to decline by 0,2% per year in the coming decade, from A8 billion (R891 billion) to between A5 billion (R866 billion) and A6 billion (R874 billion) in 2020,” the report said.
Over that period, retail demand is due to grow at 3,7% per year.“The gap between locally manufactured supply and demand is being filled by cheaper imports (which on average cost 25% less) of private label and branded products. Since 2008, Australia has become a nett importer of manufactured food.”
The report said 55% of surveyed food manufacturers were negative about the industry’s future. – Alan Harman