Lower dollar sees “spectacular” food and beverage export increase

The food and beverage sector has benefited handsomely from the lower dollar, according to a new report on the sector, with exports up 28 per cent.

The ABC reports that the Australian Food and Grocery Council’s seventh annual State of The Industry report has found a “spectacular” surge in trade, with the trade surplus for food and beverages nearly doubled and total exports up from $20 billion to $26 billion. Beef exports recorded a strong increase among exports.

"So there is double digit growth across a whole range of categories including some you would not expect, like beverages, biscuits and confectionary, sauces and condiments and a whole range of processed foods," the ABC reports AFGC chief executive Gary Dawson as saying.

According to the report, the sector is worth $119 billion, and represents nearly a third of all manufacturing in the country. Over 40 per cent of its more than 322,000 employees live in regional areas. An additional 3,183 employees were hired during the year.

The drop in the Australian dollar relative to the US currency, from a $US 1.10 peak in 2011, has been a welcome relief for many.

Simplot, for example, had previously been in danger of closing its Devonport and Bathurst processing sites.

“…our estimation at the time was that the bad times were here to stay and it is now paying its way," said the company’s managing director, Terry O’Brien.

To read the State of The Industry 2015 report, click here.