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


  • Bradley Ridoutt

    () (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Agriculture
    University of the Free State)

  • Danielle Baird

    (CSIRO Food and Nutrition)

  • Kathryn Bastiaans

    (CSIRO Food and Nutrition)

  • Ross Darnell

    (CSIRO Data61)

  • Gilly Hendrie

    (CSIRO Food and Nutrition)

  • Malcolm Riley

    (CSIRO Food and Nutrition)

  • Peerasak Sanguansri

    (CSIRO Food and Nutrition)

  • Julie Syrette

    (CSIRO Food and Nutrition)

  • Manny Noakes

    (CSIRO Food and Nutrition)

  • Brian Keating

    (CSIRO Agriculture, Food and Health)


Abstract 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Bradley Ridoutt & Danielle Baird & Kathryn Bastiaans & Ross Darnell & Gilly Hendrie & Malcolm Riley & Peerasak Sanguansri & Julie Syrette & Manny Noakes & Brian Keating, 2017. "Australia’s nutritional food balance: situation, outlook and policy implications," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 9(2), pages 211-226, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:ssefpa:v:9:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s12571-017-0650-x
    DOI: 10.1007/s12571-017-0650-x

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Quentin Farmar-Bowers, 2015. "Finding Ways to Improve Australia’s Food Security Situation," Agriculture, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(2), pages 1-27, May.
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