From min­ing to din­ing

Aus­tralia tran­si­tions away from sup­ply­ing China with me­tals, to­wards feed­ing Asia’s con­sump­tion boom.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LIVING -

ASIAN con­sumers de­ter­mined to im­prove their life­style are boost­ing the for­tunes of Aus­tralian pro­duc­ers of pre­mium baby milk for­mula, vi­ta­mins and honey, as the re­gion's bur­geon­ing middle class jumps on the health food band­wagon.

With their ex­pand­ing wal­lets, middle class con­sumers are fu­el­ing a sharp in­crease in sales of high- qual­ity prod­ucts from Down Un­der, send­ing the prof­its and share prices of health foods com­pa­nies – par­tic­u­larly pro­duc­ers of in­fant milk for­mula – into un­prece­dented ter­ri­tory.

They are led by Chi­nese con­sumers fear­ful of lax food safety stan­dards at home, where cost- cut­ting by pro­duc­ers have re­sulted in deaths and health scares.

“You've had al­most three decades of in­cred­i­ble GDP growth ( in China) and that has brought a huge amount of spend­ing power to the Chi­nese con­sumer,” said IG Mar­kets' an­a­lyst An­gus Ni­chol­son. “And given the fact that there has been some ques­tions around – par­tic­u­larly food, health and med­i­cal prod­ucts – in China, there has been an in­crease in de­mand for for­eign, top qual­ity brands.”

The growth is be­ing de­scribed as a shift from “min­ing to din­ing” as Aus­tralia tran­si­tions away from sup­ply­ing China with key me­tals such as iron ore and coal to­wards feed­ing Asia's con­sump­tion boom.

While much of the fo­cus has been on soft com­modi­ties like beef and dairy, smaller Aus­tralian- listed firms that pro­duce in­fant

A cus­tomer brows­ing prod­ucts at Mr Vi­ta­mins, a chain of sup­ple­ment out­lets in syd­ney. — AFP

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