Tapping into Western Food Success Stories in Indonesia – An Emerging Success

Last week I wrote a blog about the emerging and real examples of successful western beverage brands moving into the Indonesian market. I presented only a couple of examples, however it is a clear demonstration of the success that is present in the market. This success, is equally and in many cases more so evident in the food and agricultural sectors. I have written a lot of the disaster that has confronted the northern Australian agricultural industry and associated complimentary industries due to the arbitrary banning of Live Cattle exports to Indonesia in mid 2011. Despite the damaging effect this federal government decision has had on the Australian Agricultural sector, there are still plenty of positive news stories.  As I forecast in earlier articles, the Indonesian government initially lowered the quantity of import permits for Live cattle. This can be seen through the lens of a reactive response to the Australian government action, however it is not sustainable, and as such in recent weeks there has been a doubling of the import permits granted. Despite these increases, there is still negative press  about the Indonesian Government’s reticence to increase permits to similar levels of pre-ban imports. The Indonesian Government, perhaps with justification, is insisting and encouraging Australian investment in the Indonesian farming and agricultural sector. And it is companies who have made this investment that are in the best position to maintain solid market share moving into the future. The Australian Agricultural Company, recently announced their yearly profit had increased despite the cattle ban, and despite the ban costing them between $5-8million in profits. It is interesting to note that they have however not abandoned the Indonesian cattle market….it is just too large to ignore.

Another  example include Elders, which have been able to manage the supply chain throughout the Live cattle chain, with large farming investments in northern Australia, which can raise the cattle from young to the import permit weight threshold of 350kg’s, then move them into Elders feedlots in Indonesia for six-nine months where individual cattle will increase in weight towards 500-700kg’s. Elders are then in a position to manage the slaughtering process (it always feels a bit strange using this technical term “slaughter” however that is what occurs in an abattoir). The Elders abattoirs use world best practice, and are regarded as one of the best facilities in the region. Consequently Elders have been able to  make large investments in the Indonesian food market and make a success of the venture. They are in the same position as AACo in not pulling out of the Indonesian market…it is too lucrative. The key to remember here is that their investments in the supply chain are vertical and as such they have made investments in Indonesia, and are not solely exporting.

San Remo Pasta provides a great example of an Australian (South Australian) company that has made a great success of the food industry in Indonesia. Indonesian Hyper, Super, and mini markets in Indonesia stock San Remo pasta. It is clearly one of the market leading pasta brands in Indonesia. They have great penetration, which in large respects is related to their choosing the right Indonesian partner, and investing appropriately in their marketing promotion strategy. San Remo provide an example of the packaged food products that can succeed in the Indonesian market with a little persistence and taking a calculated risk. The past two blogs I have produced have clearly demonstrated only a few of the good news stories that are evident in the large Indonesian food market. This is a large market that is growing on a daily basis. Indonesia is a country of enormous potential and it is important for Australian food, agricultural and beverage producers to acknowledge, understand, and realise this great opportunity.

If your company is looking to tap into the increasing demand for food in the Indonesian market, please feel free to send me an email (nathan@asiaaustralis.com), and we can have a chat about how AsiaAustralis can assist your company meet the needs of the Indonesian market. Alternatively come along to the Australia Indonesia Business Council Business Forum – “Identifying opportunities for primary industries in the Indonesian market”  in Adelaide on Friday 30th March, to learn more about the opportunities for food exporters in Indonesia.

Tapping into Western Beverage Success Stories in Indonesia

I am often asked to describe market opportunities in Indonesia, and when it comes to the food, agricultural and beverage industry there is a general disbelief that there could possibly be any real market opportunity in Indonesia. This assumption made by many western food producers is wrong, and this is clearly demonstrated by the many food and beverage success stories in the Indonesian market. In recent weeks I have described the demand issues in the Indonesian market for Australian food, and how the emerging Indonesian middle class is driving demand for premium food products. I have also described the increasing need for Indonesia to meet the food security demands of the large Indonesian population approaching 250 million people and beyond. Indonesia is a large complex market, with a highly stratified food market, that provides ample opportunity for Australian and other western beverage producers to enter the market and make it a successful venture.

So who are these success stories and what can other companies learn from their success?

Coca Cola Amatil have invested heavily into the Indonesian market, which included an increase of investment in late 2010 of upwards of $100million. Clearly this investment is large and beyond the scope and capacity for many small and medium sized Australian beverage producers, however, the dedication to the Indonesian market is driving profits and company growth, and it is this lesson that other companies can aspire to achieve. A strategic decision has been made with Coca Cola Amatil to ensure that the Indonesian market is captured, which is so far proving to be a success. This success in the non alcohol sector has been replicated by Berri Juice, owned by Lion (formerly Lion Nathan who has a parent company in Japan – Kirin Holdings). Berri Juice is branded as “Australia’s favourite Juice”, and has strong market penetration throughout food service sector in hotels and restaurants and broadly across the hyper, super and mini market distribution chains. The success of these two large Australian branded products demonstrates the potential success for other Australian beverage brands to leverage. Companies such as Bickford’s are one such company that are increasing market penetration following the same distribution channels as Berri. There is an opportunity for other Australian beverage companies to take the leap of faith into this huge Indonesian market.

Indonesia is not the first market that wine producers think of when they seek export markets, however, there is increasing opportunities for Australian Wine producer. Despite the clear disadvantage of penetrating a traditionally non-alcohol consumption population (due to majority Muslim population), there are some emerging examples of Australian wine brands appearing in food service and supermarkets. It would be folly to assume that there are no distribution channels in Indonesia for Wine. Wine is available through supermarkets, Hypermarkets, dedicated wine shops and of course in the large food service industry. I will write of these specific opportunities in the coming weeks, however, I will provide one unique example of “wine” exports to the Indonesian market. In meeting the challenges of wine production in Indonesia, some Indonesian companies have been importing Australian grape crush, and converting to wine in Indonesia. This is not a super cheap method of developing wine, however, it does in the main avoid issues of excise tax, and import duties on alcohol. Additionally this example provides an indication of the market demand for Australian wine. The advice I would provide to Australian Winemakers is that the Indonesian market is a premium and super-premium market, if you seek to provide quality “expensive” wine you are more likely to succeed.

So my advice is for Australian and Western beverage producers to seriously consider the Indonesian market, with 250 million people it is a great market opportunity. Emerging opportunities exist across the beverage industry, and those companies that take advantage of the opportunities in Indonesia will make a great success…..those that don’t may miss the opportunity. Indonesia is an emerging consumer giant, and Australian beverages can help feed the Indonesian population.

If your company is looking to tap into the increasing demand for food in the Indonesian market, please feel free to send me an email (nathan@asiaaustralis.com), and we can have a chat about how AsiaAustralis can assist your company meet the needs of the Indonesian market. Alternatively come along to the Australia Indonesia Business Council Business Forum – “Identifying opportunities for primary industries in the Indonesian market”  in Adelaide on Friday 30th March, to learn more about the opportunities for food exporters in Indonesia.

Emerging Indonesian Middle Class Creating Opportunities for Australian Food Producers

The Indonesian Middle Class is increasingly demanding premium food choices, this can be a boon for Australian food producers.

In November 2011 my business partners and I travelled to Indonesia to test the market demand for South Australian premium food and agricultural produce. I touched upon this trip in an earlier blog last week, where I talked of the food security needs currently facing Indonesia and its policy makers. As I described last week the demand we received from Indonesian importers, distributors and producers was exceptional. The message was received loud and clear that Indonesia was seeking premium Australian and South Australian food produce.

Our success and the market demand was illustrated by the sheer volume of meetings we had while in Jakarta and Bali. In five days in Jakarta we had 30 meetings, and a further 10 meetings were held in Bali, with importers, distributors and food producers. The main concerned raised in these meetings was not how much would it cost, but more how much can be supplied! The Indonesian premium food market is expanding rapidly, with new supermarkets, mini markets and specialty food grocers catering to the emergent wants of the Indonesian middle class. These food outlets are modelled upon the same format as many high end and premium grocers from the west. The brands and products on the shelves are a good match for similar lines found in supermarkets across Australia, UK and the US. The Indonesian middle class is arriving and they want our food!

The success of this trip in awakening the awareness of Indonesian importers and distributors to the vast food offering in South Australia was demonstrated soon after our return to Australia in late November. An inbound trade delegation from Indonesia was hosted by my AsiaAustralis business partner Todd Shone in Pt Lincoln and the Eyre Peninsula where our Indonesian guests were able to view firsthand the market potential to supply across multiple product lines. These two trade trips, the Outbound to Indonesia and the Inbound to South Australia ultimately has resulted in new export opportunities for a couple of South Australian food producers, while additionally generating new interest for business partnerships across complimentary agricultural industries.

The main message to take from these experiences is that Indonesia with a growing population growing beyond 250 million, and with a middle class of 80-130 million, the Indonesian market provides a substantial market opportunity for Australian food producers. It is time government and business leaders acknowledged this opportunity and put in place strategies to access this market opportunity.

If your company is looking to tap into the increasing demand for food in the Indonesian market, please feel free to send me an email (nathan@asiaaustralis.com), and we can have a chat about how AsiaAustralis can assist your company meet the needs of the Indonesian market. Alternatively come along to the Australia Indonesia Business Council Business Forum – “Identifying opportunities for primary industries in the Indonesian market”  in Adelaide on Friday 30th March, to learn more about the opportunities for food exporters in Indonesia.

Realising an Export Market Opportunity and Helping Meet the Food Security Needs of Indonesia

Gita Wirjawan - Indonesian Trade Minister discussed the importance of Food Security at various events including the Indonesia Australia Business Council Conference

In November 2011, I travelled to Indonesia with my business partners from AsiaAustralis on a multi focal trip. We had been invited to take part in the East Asian Forum as Business Guests, and as part of this trip we attended other business events such as the Indonesia Australia Business Council National Conference and the Australia Business Asia Conference.  The other focus points for AsiaAustralis were to gauge interest and demand for Australian products in the Indonesian market.  Despite the multi focal approach, we were encouraged by the overwhelming interest in Australian food produce. There was clearly substantial demand in the Indonesian market for premium priced Australian food products. The key issue here is to help this clear demand for Australian product translate into business and trade matching with Australian suppliers.

At both the East Asian Summit and the Indonesian Australian Business Council events, government trade ministers such as Dr. Craig Emerson (Australia) and Pak. Gita Wirjawan (Indonesia) discussed the clear and present issues of food security facing Indonesia. Food security in Indonesia is not just a case of maintaining domestic ownership of farming land, but indeed practically feeding the growing Indonesian Population approaching 250 million people.  The food security issue in Indonesia ties in with poverty reduction and economic growth. Indonesia is a country of enormous potential and alleviating poverty amongst the urban and rural poor in Indonesia is critical to Indonesia’s economic, political and security stability.

Australian Wheat Exports can help Indonesia alleviate poverty

This demand for food and meeting the food security challenge in Indonesia creates an opportunity for Australian agricultural companies and food producers to jump into the breach. Food security at the low-end of the Indonesia translates into rice and noodles. Indonesia has in the last couple of years opened their market to imported Rice which has had a positive effect on the price of rice and helped feed 10s of millions of people living in poverty. Indonesia also has a hunger for noodles, and Australian grain and flour are helping feed this same impoverished population. Indonesia is increasingly becoming a country of noodle eaters and Australia is perfectly positioned to help provide the flour needed to produce noodles that Indonesian’s like to eat. Flour for noodles requires different mixes to ensure bonding is successful, and to keep the cost low to help meet the food security and market needs. Australian grain and flour producers have ample scope to increase their involvement in this Indonesian market.

Wheat - Noodles, helping to meet the food security needs of a rapidly growing country.

The emerging middle class in Indonesia which has been identified at representing between 80-130 million people (according to World Bank definition of middle class), has seen increasing demand for more diverse food choices than solely rice and noodles. This is reflected in the growth in high-end restaurants from North America and Europe, not to mention China and Japan. There is also a developing demand for fresh bread and baked products such as bread and pastries. As the middle class in Indonesia expands, so does the demand for premium high quality food. Australia here too is filling the breach, with the often discussed live cattle trade, which helps local farmers participate in the wealth generated from the growing demand in meat. Similarly there is demand for high quality boxed beef and lamb, which is the pre-slaughtered high quality meats Southern Australian Farmers are great at producing.  Restaurants in Jakarta emphasize the ‘Australian Beef’ on their menus as a stamp of quality.

The demand for Australian food products is substantial and we should be jumping at the opportunity. Unfortunately we often only hear of the bad news stories associated with Indonesia. Australian farmers, Australian politicians and Australian government bureaucrats need to reassess the opportunities in the Indonesian market. Our closest northern neighbour has enormous market potential for Australian food producers and there is an opportunity for Australia to help Indonesia meet its food security needs, while at the same time building strong business and community partnerships for the future.

If your company is looking to tap into the increasing demand for food in the Indonesian market, please feel free to send me an email (nathan@asiaaustralis.com), and we can have a chat about how AsiaAustralis can assist your company meet the needs of the Indonesian market. Alternatively come along to the Australia Indonesia Business Council Business Forum – “Identifying opportunities for primary industries in the Indonesian market”  in Adelaide on Friday 30th March, click the link to register and for more information.

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