Australia’s nutritional food balance: situation, outlook and policy implications
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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.
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