Meat & Livestock News

Australia’s Red Meat Industry: A Global Powerhouse


  • MLA’s latest analysis underscores Australia’s pivotal role in the global red meat sector, spotlighting opportunities and competitive strengths.
  • Insights from 14 key international markets reveal trends in consumer behaviour, export performance, and sectoral shifts.
  • Australia’s domestic market’s robust demand, the strategic impact of the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement, and the potential in emerging markets stand out as significant highlights.

Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) has recently published its 2024 global market snapshots, casting a spotlight on Australia’s formidable position in the worldwide red meat trade. These comprehensive analyses span fourteen markets, offering stakeholders a wealth of information on consumer trends, export achievements, and the broader competitive landscape.

Diverse Market Insights

The scope of MLA’s research is impressive, covering a broad spectrum of regions including North America, Japan, Korea, Greater China, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), the United Kingdom, and the European Union. This global perspective is crucial for Australian exporters, providing them with the intelligence needed to navigate and thrive in the complex international marketplace.

Key Observations

  • Home Front Strength: Australia’s own market remains its biggest consumer, with Australians’ appetite for beef and lamb among the highest globally. Despite economic pressures, the demand for red meat remains strong, supported by its quality, variety, and affordability.
  • Sustainability as a Priority: In line with global trends, Australian consumers are increasingly drawn to sustainably produced red meat, echoing sentiments in Europe and the USA. This shift towards environmentally responsible and ethically produced meat highlights the industry’s adaptability to changing consumer preferences.
  • China’s Continuing Dominance: For years, China has been a leading market for Australian red meat, driven by its growing affluent population and a heightened appreciation for quality products. Despite challenges, the demand within China shows no signs of waning.
  • US Market Dynamics: The United States presents a lucrative market for Australian producers, particularly for premium, grass fed beef and lamb. Emphasising health, sustainability, and animal welfare aligns with the preferences of America’s affluent consumers.
  • Japan and Korea’s Consistent Demand: Both nations remain integral to Australia’s export strategy, with Japan being a key buyer of beef and Korea’s burgeoning demand for lamb, facilitated by its vast e-commerce platforms.
  • Emerging Market Opportunities: The snapshots also highlight the potential in emerging markets, such as the MENA region and Southeast Asia, where a growing middle class and rising incomes fuel demand for quality red meat.

Future Directions

The 2024 global market snapshots from MLA not only affirm Australia’s leading status in the red meat industry but also illuminate paths for future growth. By leveraging insights into consumer behaviour, market trends, and trade dynamics, Australian red meat producers are well-positioned to expand their global footprint.