Australia’s nutritional food balance: situation, outlook and policy implications
- 364 Downloads
Australia is a food trading nation with a complex food system. Change can have important implications for rural communities, employment, trade, public health nutrition and food security. This study compares Australian food intake scenarios to 2050 with linear projections for Australian agricultural production. The study is distinguished by its nutritional perspective, characterising food balance in terms of basic foods rather than food energy or macronutrients, as well as its systems perspective, taking into account the transformations that occur in food processing and cooking, livestock feed requirements, as well as supply chain and kitchen losses. With Australia’s population projected to increase from around 23 million in 2015 to 37.5 million in 2050, substantial increases in domestic food supply will be required. Although the situation and outlook differ for each commodity, in most respects demand is projected to increase at a greater rate than local production. This suggests that the Australian food system is on a trajectory toward reduced net food exports and increased dependence on imports. This will have implications for Australia’s role in the global food system and presents a change in some of the determinants of national food security. The trajectory of the food system also appears to be at odds with the massive public health challenges associated with diet related disease. These and other implications of an enlarging and increasingly international food system are discussed.
KeywordsAustralian guide to healthy eating Australian health survey Food security Food system National nutrition survey
This project was funded, in part, by the Australian Government Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC, Barton, Australian Capital Territory, Australia; Project Nos. PRJ-008806 and PRJ-009653). This paper is based on reports arising from these projects, available on the RIRDC website (http://www.rirdc.gov.au/publications). We thank Simon Winter at RIRDC for his support for this research.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
- ABARES. (2013). What Asia wants: long-term food consumption trends in Asia. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences.Google Scholar
- ABS. (1999). 4804.0 – National Nutrition Survey: foods eaten, Australia, 1995. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.Google Scholar
- ABS. (2008). 3105 - Australian historical population statistics. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.Google Scholar
- ABS. (2012). 3301.0 Births, Australia, 2012. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.Google Scholar
- ABS. (2013a). 3222.0 – Population projections, Australia, 2012 (base) to 2101. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.Google Scholar
- ABS. (2013b). 3101.0 - Australian demographic statistics. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.Google Scholar
- ABS. (2014a). 4363.0.55 - Australian health survey: users’ guide, 2011–13. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.Google Scholar
- ABS. (2014b). 4364.0.55.007 - Australian health survey: nutrition first results - foods and nutrients, 2011–12. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.Google Scholar
- Anand, S. S., Hawkes, C., de Souza, R. J., Mente, A., Dehghan, M., Nugent, R., Zulyniak, M. A., Weis, T., Bernstein, A. M., Krauss, R. M., Kromhout, D., Jenkins, D. J. A., Malik, V., Martinez-Gonzalez, M. A., Mozaffarian, D., Yusuf, S., Willett, W. C., & Popkin, B. M. (2015). Food consumption and its impact on cardiovascular disease: importance of solutions focused on the globalized food system. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 66, 1590–1614.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Australia, D. (2013). Australian dairy industry in focus 2013. Melbourne: Dairy Australia.Google Scholar
- Bannerman, E., Magarey, A. M., & Daniels, L. A. (2001). Evaluation of micronutrient intakes of older Australians: the National Nutrition Survey – 1995. The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging, 5, 243–247.Google Scholar
- BBSRC (2013). UK Threat. Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, UK. www.foodsecurity.ac.uk. Accessed 14 Oct 2013.
- Bennett, S., Bills, J., Cross, R., Evans, P., Goodwin, C., Koch, D., Moxey, Q., Reid, M., & Spencer, S. (2013). Horizon 2020: future scenarios for the Australian dairy industry. Melbourne: Dairy Australia and Gardiner Foundation.Google Scholar
- Carey, R., Krumholz, F., Duignan, K., McConell, K., Browne, J. L., Burns, C., & Lawrence, M. (2011). Integrating agriculture and food policy to achieve sustainable peri-urban fruit and vegetable production in Victoria, Australia. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 1, 181–195.Google Scholar
- Chapagain, A.K., & Hoekstra, A.Y. (2004). Water Footprint of Nations, vol. 2, Appendices. Delf: UNESCO – IHE.Google Scholar
- Cobiac, L., Record, S., Leppard, P., Syrette, J., & Flight, I. (2003). Sugars in the Australian diet: results from the 1995 National Nutrition Survey. Nutrition and Dietetics, 60, 152–173.Google Scholar
- DAFF. (2013). National Food Plan: our food future. Canberra: Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.Google Scholar
- Department of Agriculture. (2014). Australian food statistics 2012–13. Canberra: Australian Government.Google Scholar
- Drewnowski, A. (2014). Healthy diets for a health planet. American Journal of Clinical Nutritian, 99, 1284-1285.Google Scholar
- EIU (2014). Global Food Security Index. The Economist Intelligence Unit. www.eiu.com/.
- FAO. (2003). Technical conversion factors for agricultural commodities. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.Google Scholar
- FAO. (2014). FAOSTAT. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.Google Scholar
- FRDC. (2010). Imported seafood in Australia. Canberra: Fisheries Research and Development Corporation.Google Scholar
- FSANZ (2010). NUTTAB 2010 Online Searchable Database. Food Standards Australia New Zealand.Google Scholar
- Garnett, T. (2014). What is a sustainable diet? A discussion paper. Oxford, UK: Food and Climate Research Network.Google Scholar
- Hughes, L., Steffen, W., Rice, M., & Pearce, A. (2015). Feeding a hungry nation: climate change, food and farming in Australia. Potts Point: Climate Council of Australia.Google Scholar
- Johnston, J.L., Fanzo, J.C., & Cogill, B. (2014). Understanding sustainable diets: a descriptive analysis of the determinants and processes that influence diets and their impact on health, food security, and environmental sustainability. Advances in Nutritian, 5, 418-429.Google Scholar
- Keogh, M., Tomlinson, A., & Henry, M. (2015). Assessing the competitiveness of Australian agriculture. RIRDC publication 15/054. Canberra: Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation.Google Scholar
- Larsen, K., Ryan, C., & Abraham, A. B. (2008). Sustainable and secure food Systems for Victoria. Melbourne: Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab, University of Melbourne.Google Scholar
- Larsen, K., Turner, G., Ryan, C., & Lawrence, M. (2011). Victorian food supply scenarios: impacts on availability of a nutritious diet. Melbourne: Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab (University of Melbourne), CSIRO and Deakin University.Google Scholar
- Magarey, A., & Bannerman, E. (2003). Evaluation of micronutrient intakes of children and adolescents: National Nutrition Survey 1995 and comparison with 1985 data. Nutrition and Dietetics, 60, 16–22.Google Scholar
- NHMRC. (2013). Australian dietary guidelines. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council.Google Scholar
- Obesity Australia (2014). Obesity: A National Epidemic and its Impact on Australia. www.obesityaustralia.org/_literature.../No_Time_To_Weight_Report.
- PMSEIC. (2010). Australia and food security in a changing world. Canberra: The Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council.Google Scholar
- Prasad, S., & Langridge, P. (2012). Australia’s role in global food security. Canberra: Australian Government Office of the Chief Scientist.Google Scholar
- Reeves, T., Mackenzie, R., McDermott, J., Milgate, M., Muller, J., & Putland, D. (2011). Food security issues in the Australian horticultural industry. Fortitude Valley: Growcom.Google Scholar
- Ridoutt, B., Baird, D., Bastiaans, K., Hendrie, G., Riley, M., Sanguansri, P., Syrette, J., & Noakes, M. (2016). Changes in food intake in Australia: comparing the 1995 and 2011 national nutrition survey results disaggregated into basic foods. Food, 5(2). doi:10.3390/foods5020040.
- Rosier, K. (2011). Food insecurity in Australia. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.Google Scholar
- Sheales, T., & Gunning-Trant, C. (2009). Global food security and Australia. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics.Google Scholar
- Steffen, W., Richardson, K., Rockström, J., Cornell, S. E., Fetzer, I., Bennett, E. M., Biggs, R., Carpenter, S. R., de Vries, W., de Wit, C. A., Folke, C., Gerten, D., Heinke, J., Mace, G. M., Persson, L. M., Ramanathan, V., Reyers, B., & Sörlin, S. (2015). Planetary boundaries: guiding human development on a changing planet. Science, 347(6223). doi:10.1126/science.1259855.
- Tapsell, L.C., Probst, Y., Lawrence, M., Friel, S., & Flood, V.M. (2011). Food and nutrition security in the Australia-New Zealand region: impact of climate change. World Review of Nutrition and Dietetics, 102, 192-200.Google Scholar
- Vos, T., et al. (2015). Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 301 acute and chronic diseases and injuries in 188 countries, 1990-2013: a systematic analysis for the global burden of disease study 2013. The Lancet, 386, 743–800.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Wahlqvist, M. L., Keatinge, J. D. H., Butler, C. D., Friel, S., McKay, J., Easdown, W., Kuo, K. N., Huang, C.-J., Pan, W.-H., Yang, R.-Y., Lee, M.-S., Chang, H.-Y., Chiu, Y.-W., Jaron, D., Krawinkel, M., Barlow, S., Walsh, G., Chiang, T.-L., Huang, P.-C., & Li, D. (2009). A food in health security (FIHS) platform in the Asia-Pacific region: the way forward. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 18, 688–702.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Wang, Z., Patterson, C. M., & Hills, A. P. (2002). Association between overweight or obesity and household income and parental body mass index in Australian youth: analysis of the Australian National Nutrition Survey, 1995. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 11, 200–205.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Wang, Z., Patterson, C. M., & Hills, A. P. (2003). The relationship between BMI and intake of energy and fat in Australian youth: a secondary analysis of the National Nutrition Survey 1995. Nutrition and Dietetics, 60, 23–29.Google Scholar
- WEF. (2012). The global competitiveness report 2012–2013. Geneva: World Economic Forum.Google Scholar
- Wiesmann, D., Bassett, L., Benson, T., & Hoddinott, J. (2008). Validation of food frequency and dietary diversity as proxy indicators of household food security. Rome: United Nations World Food Programme.Google Scholar
- Williams, P. (2002). What Australians eat for breakfast: an analysis of data from the 1995 National Nutrition Survey. Nutrition and Dietetics, 59, 103–112.Google Scholar
- Windhorst, H. (2014). Dynamics and patterns of global egg processing and trade. World Poultry. http://www.worldpoultry.net/Layers/Egg-Processing/2014/10/Dynamics-and-patterns-of-global-egg-processing-and-trade-1591573W/.