Australia has the opportunity to triple its exports of grain-fed beef to China by 2030 to satisfy the nation’s growing appetite for the highly marbled meat, according to Rabobank Group.

Rising consumption in Asia, particularly in China, could drive a 65 per cent increase in Australian grain-fed beef exports to more than 500,000 tons in about a decade, the bank said in a report. Shipments to China alone could surge to almost 200,000 tons from about 50,000 tons now, it said.

China’s demand for beef will keep expanding and with limited growth in local output, imports will play a larger role, according to senior animal proteins analyst Angus Gidley-Baird. While the backbone of the Australian beef industry will remain grass-based, grain feeding will become more important.

Consumers in Asian markets have a strong affinity with highly marbled, grain-fed beef as it suits their palate and cuisine. This type of meat may account for 20 per cent of China’s beef imports by 2030, compared with an estimated 6 per cent now, given projections for income growth, per capita consumption and food service trends, according to the report.

Other major exporters such as the U.S. and Canada are also expected to increase shipments, but given the potential growth in the Chinese market, “there will be enough room for everyone,” said Gidley-Baird.

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