A REINVIGORATED Australian soft wheat industry could potentially take a larger slice of Asia’s growing cake and biscuit market, according to an investigation by the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC).
The amount of wheat grown in Australia specifically for cakes and biscuits has declined over the last decade and is largely used by the domestic market.
AEGIC found that the cake and biscuit wheat class, Australian Soft (ASFT) wheat, and potentially the low protein Australian Noodle Wheat (ANW2) grown in Western Australia, could be suited to some sweet Asian products, a potentially lucrative market.
AEGIC general manager – research & technical services Dr Ken Quail said the premium cake and biscuit market across Asia was growing strongly.
“The increasing demand means flour millers are open to using Australian wheat, if the quality and price is right,” he said.
Dr Quail said the project involved working closely with flour millers in Indonesia and Japan to assess the baking performance of Australian Soft (ASFT) wheat varieties, as well as low-protein Australian Noodle Wheat (ANW2) varieties.
He said ANW2 may be a short-to-medium term opportunity.
“ANW2 is semi-soft, low-protein noodle wheat that falls outside the main grade requirements for premium Japanese noodles,” he said.
“Our research suggests that ANW2 could be used in some cake or biscuit products in Asia. This would be a new market, potentially reducing risk for noodle wheat growers and expanding demand.
“It’s important to note that ANW2 would only be a partial solution as production is relatively limited.”
Mr Quail said building significant soft wheat exports to Asia, and in particular Indonesia, would be a longer-term prospect for Australia.
“This would require a coordinated, long-term effort to breed new soft wheat varieties with not only improved cake and biscuit performance, but also more attractive agronomic qualities for growers,” he said.
“Thanks to this research, we now have a clearer understanding of Asian market requirements for soft wheat products. This will allow the Australian industry to examine the potential for increasing Australian soft wheat exports.”
This research was partially supported by GRDC and involved collaboration with Indonesian and Japanese flour millers, and the Australian industry including InterGrain, LongReach, Stirlings to Coast Farmers, CBH, Premium Grain Handlers, Allied Pinnacle and Mr Tony Guiness.
AEGIC senior research scientist Dr Siem Siah led the project.
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