CSIRO Agribusiness Megatrends Part Three – Choosy Customers

30 October 2015

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The third in our CSIRO Megatrends series focuses on the latests shifts in customer behaviour.

Background
Recently, CSIRO in conjunction with the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) released the Rural Industry Futures report. Five “megatrends” were identified in the report that will affect the Agribusiness industry in the coming 20 years with a particular focus on the opportunities within Asian markets.

The unique challenges and opportunities presented by the third megatrend are summarised below.

“Choosy Customers”

An increase in disposable income often leads to changes in consumer behaviour as other issues outside of cost become prominent drivers in consumer choice. As such, consumers in developing countries will be more informed and more empowered to make choices based on issues such as hygiene, health, provenance, sustainability and ethics.

Healthy food choices is set to become of particular importance in Asian markets as health literacy rates increase and consumers demand more high-fibre foods as well as other products that address nutritional deficiencies within their diet. Asian consumers will also have a greater expectation for products which are produced hygienically, ethically and sustainably.

Challenges:

Access to up-to-date information and developments in technology are increasingly making supply chains transparent. Furthermore, consumers are more willing and more able to investigate provincial and beneficial claims leading to more scrutiny of products in general.

WIley MegaTrends CHOOSY CUSTOMERS_Trend 1

There is also a growing weight of evidence to support government intervention on issues such as food labelling and regulation of unhealthy food options. The fiscal benefits of a healthier society may lead to increased regulation or taxation of certain products which are generally considered to be harmful to health and wellbeing.

Opportunities:

Australia’s Agribusiness sector has an international reputation for being “green and clean”. This reputation gives Australian businesses an opportunity to market their products to appeal to an increasing number of consumers concerned with issues of health, ethics and sustainability.

WIley MegaTrends CHOOSY CUSTOMERS_Trend 2

Furthermore, Australia’s close proximity to Asia allows businesses to get their products to market within hours, further capitalising on market opportunities to provide the freshest produce to meet consumer demand for high quality products.

WIley MegaTrends CHOOSY CUSTOMERS

Summary

The five megatrends identified in the Rural Industries Futures report provide an insight into the significant market opportunities and challenges within Asia in the coming years.

Population and income growth will lead to increased demand for a higher quantity of more diverse and quality products. Consumers will be more informed and more empowered to make choices based on personal values rather than price. Advances in technology will lead to greater efficiencies in production and the risk associated with climate change and extreme weather events will lead to the emergence of entirely new markets.

The Australian Agribusiness sector is positioned for growth and the developing nations of Asia will be a key component. The industry needs to capitalise on the ‘clean and green’ image of Australia as well as available technologies to communicate and build a relationship and social presence with their customers. Emerging technologies need to be adapted to address the unique challenges presented by our climate and available resources. The extent by which the Australian Agribusiness industry can take advantage of the market opportunities presented by these megatrends largely comes down to their ability to adapt and innovate.

The full copy of the Rural Industry Futures Report can be downloaded on the RIRDC website.

We will be releasing the Fourth Megatrend next Monday: Part Four – Transformative Technologies