It is often said trends in Australia follow the United States, and a new report supports that theory in terms of the growing fondness Australians have for eating out instead of at home.
ABARES’ new Food demand in Australia report highlights how strongly the trend away from home cooking towards eating out has grown in Australia in the past 30 years.
The share of meals out and fast foods in total food expenditure in Australia increased from 25 per cent in 1988-89 to 34 per cent in 2015-16:
Average per person expenditure on meals out and fast food increased from $932 per person in 1988-89 to $1608 per person in 2015-16.
The main influences on food demand growth in the past 30 years, according to the report, were population growth (58%), growth in real income per person (33%) and changes in tastes and preferences (12%) while higher real food prices had a slightly negative impact on food demand growth (-2%).
The above chart shows that while expenditure on eating out has increased, expenditure on the main food types has largely stagnated changed in real terms in the past 30 years.
Average per person expenditure on meat, fish and seafood has declined from $734 per person in 1988-89 to $650 per person in 2015-16.
By age group, in 2015-16 average per person expenditure on meat, fish and seafood was lowest for the 15-24 year old category ($443/person) and highest in the 65-74 year old category ($861/person)
The report also shows:
- Food production and consumption in Australia have nearly doubled since 1988-89;
- Household food consumption expenditure in Australia increased from $49 billion in 1988-89 to $92 billion in 2016-17 – or by 2.3pc a year on average;
- Food exports have risen to $39 billion during the same period;
- Food imports now make up 15pc of national household consumption
- Food imports increased from $4 billion in 1988-89 to $14 billion in 2016-17 – or by 4.8pc a year on average
- Australia is now a net food importer in six categories: seafood; processed fruit and vegetables; soft drink, cordials and syrup; confectionary; bakery products and oils and fats.
The report also considers issues such as food security, food losses and waste and food labelling – to view the report in full click here