Prospects for the
  Australian Native
  Bushfood Industry

 

 


A Report prepared for the Rural Industries
Research and Development Corporation
by

          Caroline Graham and Denise Hart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


RIRDC Research paper No 97/22


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Repeat foreword in Univers 12 pt bold

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

© 1997  Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation.

All rights reserved.  

 

ISBN  0 642 24642 4

ISSN 1321 2656

 

"Prospects for the Australian Native Bushfood Industry "

 

 

The views expressed and the conclusions reached in this publication are those of the author/s and not necessarily those of persons consulted or the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation.  RIRDC shall not be responsible in any way whatsoever to any person who relies in whole, or in part, on the contents of this report unless authorised in writing by the Managing Director of RIRDC.

 

This publication is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research, study, criticism or review as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced in any form, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted without the prior written permission from the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation. Requests and inquiries concerning reproduction should be directed to the Managing Director.

 

 

 

Researcher Contact Details

Caroline Graham                                      Denise Hart

Caroline Graham Consulting Pty Ltd           Rapt Consulting Pty Ltd

ACN 074 579 463                                                           ACN 072 293 451

PO Box 134                                             PO Box 309

ARTHURTON SA  5572                             CIVIC SQUARE ACT 2608

 

Phone:  08 88 213 565                              Phone: 0411 852 644                

Fax:      08 88213 454                               Fax:     015 519 456

 

 

 

 

                          

RIRDC Contact Details

Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation

Level  1, AMA House

42 Macquarie Street

BARTON   ACT   2600

 

PO Box 4776 

KINGSTON   ACT   2604              

 

Phone:    06 272 4539

Fax:        06 272 5877

email:      rirdc@netinfo.com.au

Internet:   http://www.dpie.gov.au/rirdc

            

 

Published in February 1997                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foreword

 

 

Get text from David Evans

 

 

 

 


Table of Contents

 

1         Executive Summary                                        7

 

2         Methodology                                                  10

               Report sequence                                                                 11

 

3         Production sector                                         12

               Introduction                                                                        12

               List of species                                                                     13

               Farmed produce-costs and returns                                             17

               Plant density, yield and farm gate price                         19

               Cost of plantation establishment and production                     20

               Costs of establishment                                                      21

               Wild harvesting - issues and costs                                   31

               Issues                                                                                   31

 

4         Processing sector                                        34

               Introduction                                                                        34

               Current bushfood market sectors                                    34

               Raw produce and annual tonnages traded                                 35

               Value added (va) products                                                36

               Capacity to supply current native bushfood processors

               through commercial cultivation                                       38

               Issues                                                                                   39

 

5         Mainstream food manufacturers                        41

               Introduction                                                                        41

               Cost and produce factors                                                  41

               Species identified as having potential in the large food

               service manufacturers market                                         42

               Issues                                                                                   43

 

6         Wholesale/retail sectors                              45

               Introduction                                                                        45

               Wholesale fresh                                                                  45

               Specialty retail/wholesale                                                 46

               Convenience retail                                                             47

               Issues                                                                                   47

 

7         Complementary industries                                   48

               Introduction                                                                        48

               The wine industry                                                              48

               The native meat industry                                                  49

               The tourism industry                                                         56

               Issues                                                                                   57


 

8         Food standards                                                      58

               Introduction                                                                        58

               How do standards within the FSC become developed,

               varied or changed?                                                             58

               What is the relevance of the ANZFA Food Standards

               Code to the Australian native bushfood industry?                    60

               Issues                                                                                   60

 

9         SWOT analysis                                              62

            Strengths                                                                             62

            Weaknesses                                                                         63

            Opportunities                                                                                 63

Threats                                                                                64

 

10       Industry research and development

            needs                                                               65

 

 

 

Appendices

 

1             Project objectives                                                              67

 

2             Organisations contacted during research and

information collation                                                          68

 

3             Complete species list                                                        69

 

4             Key production areas                                                        74

 

5             Genetic improvment                                                                      75

 

6             The SQF 2000TM quality code:1995                                   76

 

7             Acronyms                                                                             81

 


1    Executive Summary

 

Introduction

 

This commissioned study has been undertaken to evaluate the prospects of the Australian native bushfoods industry and thereby provide a basis for identifying and discussing the industry’s research and development needs.  It has also sought to provide information that will assist people in the industry or thinking of entering it to make informed decisions.  In essence, the study is a sequel to previous RIRDC - sponsored activities such as the 1996 Brisbane conference entitled “Culture of the Land: Cruisine of the People”.

 

Nine agreed issues (Appendix 1) have been investigated by seeking and analysing information and opinions from a wide spectrum of people, organisations and businesses relevant to the bushfood industry (Appendix 2).

 

The report deals largely with plant-based foods but also provides an overview of animal based bushfoods.  In addition, it touches on complementary industries such as wine and tourism.  The structure of the report reflects the flow along the production chain from cultivated species, to markets, end-users and regulators.

 

Fourteen plant-species and their end uses are considered because they have definable farmgate or wild-harvested values.  They range from Bush tomatoes, through to Lemon myrtle to Quandong and Wild lime.  Establishment costs and likely returns are explored assuming conventional horticultural production.  By way of example, general budgets are provided for Muntries/Munthari, Lemon myrtle and Illawarra plum.

 

 

Production issues of importance for the industry include :

 

·       lack of genetically improved cultivars of most species;

·       lack of cost-effective and environmentally sound management practices to support production;

·       apparent over-planting of some species that may result in lowered prices unless demand is increased;

·       farmgate prices that are unlikely to be acceptable to larger scale market outlets and the food industry; and

·       lack of product quality and food safety information.

 

 

Bushfood produce and products are generally marketed through retail speciality food stores; distributorships largely supplying the hospitality/catering sectors, tourist outlets in major department stores and airports; and larger end-users such as airlines and resorts.  The tonnage of raw produce traded in 1995/96 was about 40 tonnes, with wholesale price per kilogram ranging from $2.50 for fresh Warrigal greens to $110 for the dried Native mountain pepper leaf and berry.  Wholesale prices for va products ranged from $8/litre for Lemon aspen cordial to $58/kg for ground Bush tomato.  ANBIC has estimated the industry to have a value in the order of $10 - 12 million.

 


 

Significant processing issues for the industry include :

 

·       the supply of several species currently traded as raw produce, by bushfood processors, appears to exceed likely demand;

·       the high cost of some raw produce reflects the high cost of collating the produce from the wild;

·       seasonal variability and the consequential need to warehouse supplies incurs significant costs;

·       there is a need to better understand growth potential and market-share for both domestic and export markets; and

·       there is an urgent need to promote bushfoods and educate people, organisations and businesses about their use.

 

Main stream manufacturers are tentative in their opinions as their knowledge of bushfoods is currently limited.  Nevertheless, they have identified several bushfoods having potential providing that they are offered in a suitable form, quantity, quality and price.

 

 

Relevant issues raised by such manufacturers include :

 

·       Australian bushfoods would be more acceptable if offered to mainstream manufacturers as a puree, ground/dried product, essence or flavour;

·       consistency of quality and supply must be guaranteed with specified minimum quantities as determined by individual manufacturers;

·       price per kilogram must allow a competitive shelf price - novelty alone is not enough;

·       the produce or product supplied must be appropriate and safe for food use; and

·       promotion and education are needed if demand is to be increased.

 

 

The wholesale/retail sector (wholesale fresh, speciality retail/wholesale, and convenience retail) universally thought the price of bushfoods to be too high and hence limiting to demand.  The sector also unanimously highlighted the need for promotion and education.

 

 

Particular wholesale/retail issues arising included :

 

·       a variety of packagings and shelf life’s are required to cover varied end-uses;

·       being an Australian product is not enough to justify high prices in Australia - indeed it may militate against such prices;

·       Australian bushfood va product is positioned within the top 4% of retail sales pricing: this is limiting in some markets;

·       determining in which market to position a product must be done with care so as to avoid placement in one market damaging placement in another; and

·       being a unique and exotic Australian product is not necessarily always helpful in marketing.  The perceptions and requirements of a given market must be determined before promotion and marketing starts.

 


 

Possible complementarity with industries such as wine and tourism is explored.  While they exist, such opportunities will not be realised without education and promotion and the bushfood industry acquiring a professional image.  Care must be taken in choosing pairing.  Pairing with too unfamiliar a partner can have a negative impact.  This can also be true for pairing with animal based bushfoods where conservation and animal rights issues may arise.  Prospects and opportunities for the kangaroo, emu, crocodile and possum industries are reviewed.

 

Food standards are recognised as a major issue for the bushfoods industry with regard to public health and safety, consumer choice and product standards.  The relevance of the ANZFA Food Standards Code is therefore considered at some length.  Compliance with Safe Quality Food 2000 Standards will be a major marketing advantage for the industry.

 

A SWOT analysis of the industry has been undertaken as a means of pulling together the threads of the report and identifying research and development needs.

 

In order of priority, the industry’s r&d needs are argued to be :

 

·       Safe food, toxicology and food standards;

·       Industry, promotion and consumer education;

·       Genetic improvement of cultivated species;

·       Agronomy (including pest, weed and disease management);

·       Marketing images;

·       Food technology; and

·       Post-harvest handling and packaging.

 

 


2    Methodology

 

Information for this report has been sourced by the following methods :

 

·       Personal interviews with major food manufacturers currently manufacturing foods that require similar processes to those of native bushfoods.  A total of 17 food manufacturers and wholesale/retail businesses were interviewed and provided with a comprehensive range of samples to illustrate the uses, tastes and textures of native bushfoods;

·       Telephone contact with industry participants including the six processors currently considered to be industry leaders;

·       Survey responses from four regional bodies.  A questionnaire was provided to the nominated contact person for native bushfood organisations.  This survey provided an assessment of inground plantings and more accurately pin-pointed geographic locations of the plantings.  It also requested information regarding issues considered to have the greatest impact of the success of commercial production.  The survey provided information collated by the regional bodies from approximately 200 growers or potential growers of native bushfoods;

·       Personal interviews and/or telephone contact with complementary industries;

·       Personal interviews with Government Agencies; and

·       Review of previous industry workshop, conference and seminar papers available from 1995 and 1996.

 

A complete list of contacts is provided as Appendix 2.

 


 

Report sequence

 

The report has been structured to reflect the natural progression of a native food through the production - marketing chain as demonstrated in the following diagram.  The potential for links with complementary industries by the processing/manufacturing and wholesale/retail sectors are illustrated, as are the encompassing constraints imposed by the Australia New Zealand Food Authority.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Native Bushfood Species

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

·       Farmed produce

·       Wild harvested produce

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

- ANZFA Food Standards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Native Bushfood processor

 

Mainstream food manufacturer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

- Complementary

   Industries

 

 

 

 

 

Wholesale/retail sectors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Domestic

 

Restaurant

 

Food service

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

3    Production sector

 

Introduction

 

The terms of reference for the study required an assessment of :

·       The development of commercial plantings;

·       The potential for oversupply of farmed produce;

·       Costs of production and potential returns to commercial producers of native bushfoods; and

·       Research and development issues important to the industry with particular reference to agronomic practices and the selection of improved plant material.

 

To be practical, the report concentrates on the eleven plant species identified by the Australian Native Bushfood Industry Committee (ANBIC), a Rural Industries R&d Corporation funded initiative during 1995/96, as having the most significant potential.  Three more species have been included as they are frequently used by current native bushfood processors and specialist native bushfood restaurants.  These species have a “farmgate” or “wild harvested” value.  This value is used to determine potential gross margins for the would be commercial producer.  The raw produce farm gate or va product values have also been useful in determining the level of interest from mainstream manufacturers is utilising native bushfoods in new product lines or in an “interchange” capacity.  This potential is discussed more fully in Chapter 5.

 

Toxicological issues associated with some native plant foods have been repeatedly raised by potential consumers as an area of some concern.  It has been stated that the industry will not alleviate these concerns (and the affect they have on demand) unless a definitive list of “safe” species is widely available and is accompanied by consumer education.  There has been some early work on certain species with the most recent being a paper commissioned by ANBIC, completed by Plantchem Pty Ltd.  The full paper is presented within the NBIC conference manual.

 

It is well known amongst users of native bushfoods that, for example, there are only a few Acacia species safe for human consumption and that Warrigal greens must be blanched before eating to remove oxalates.  However, the issue is potentially of much broader concern than these few well known species and requires research by qualified professionals to determine a definitive “safe” list.  Section 12 within the Food Standards Code provides an ideal vehicle for formal recognition of such a list within food law that is well recognised.  This code is more fully discussed in Chapter 8.

 


 

List of Species

 

The fourteen most commonly used plant species are described below.  Each description contains the widely recognised common name, botanical name and known plant numbers in commercial plantings.  A brief description of the plant is also given followed by its possible culinary uses.  The same fourteen species also form the basis for the greater percentage of raw produce utilised by processors.  Va products derived from these species are listed in Chapter 3.  It is also recognised that many trial plantings exist around Australia of species not in the “top 14”.  These species may have commercial potential as the industry matures and are listed as Appendix 1.

 

Bush tomato            (Solanum centrale)

 

Commercial plantings: approximately 12,000.

 

Also known as the desert raisin or in some Aboriginal communities as “akudjura”.

 

A small shrub with grey to green leaves; fruits turn from green to yellow when ripe and dry on the plant to resemble a “raisin”.

 

It is intensely flavoured with a piquant, spicy taste and can be used as a spice or flavouring addition into most dishes where tomato is used.

 

Uses in soups, casseroles, savoury tarts and pies or combined with capsicums, potatoes, onions or with garlic or chilli in salsa or sauces.

 

 

Illawarra plum          (Podocarpus elatus)

 

Commercial plantings: 500 or greater.

 

Also known as brown pine.

 

Evergreen conical tree, a member of the conifer family, which is sometimes used as a municipal street tree or in parks and gardens.

 

Dark green leaves with flowers on both male and female trees; it has blue/black fruits (approx 20 mm long - ripens during autumn/winter) with an inedible seed attached to the outside of the flesh at the opposite end to the stem.

 

Its taste is of a subtle plum/pine flavour.

 

Uses - can be combined in savoury applications such as Illawarra plum and chilli sauce, chutneys, marinades.  It teams up with fruits such as apricots, rhubarb in fruit syrups, sauces, flans, tarts and can be combined with chocolate or macadamia nuts in puddings.

 


 

Kakadu plum           (Terminalia ferdinandiana)

 

            Commercial plantings: none known.

 

Also known as billygoat, green or wild plum or murunga in East Arnhem land.

 

A medium size deciduous tree with flower spikes in early summer followed by oval shaped green fruit with a large stone (ripens March-June).  It has the world’s highest fruit source of vitamin C.

 

Uses - as its taste is subtle, it can be teamed up with apples or pears in jams, sauces or glazes and for chutney making.

 

 

Lemon aspen          (Acronychia acidula)

 

            Commercial plantings: 5,000 or greater.

 

A medium/tall tropical rainforest tree with dark green oval shaped leaves and creamy yellow flower.

 

The fruit is pale green to lemon coloured (harvest April-July) with a very thin outer skin and juicy, firm flesh.

 

Uses - as its taste is very tart and acidic with intensity of citrus/lemon flavours it could be used (with care) in recipes where limes or lemons are used.  It complements fruits such as mangoes and rhubarb and combines with ginger and lemongrass for dressings.  Marinades, butters, icecreams, curds, butter sauces (for shellfish) and shortbreads can be made using lemon aspen.

 

 

Lemon myrtle          (Backhousia citriodora)

 

            Commercial plantings: 5,000 or greater.

 

An evergreen tree of dull green foliage which have a strong lemongrass/lemon scent with white flowers in summer.

 

Its versatility encompasses the leaves which contain essential oils, giving it its perfume and taste; the flowers and seed.  All could be used in dried, fresh, shredded, ground or crushed form.

 

Uses - in teas, sorbets, in Asian dishes, shortbreads, hollandaise, dressings, sauces with fish or chicken.

 

 

Muntries, Munthari             (Kunzea pomifera) 

 

            Commercial plantings: approx. 5,000.

 

Also known as emu apples, native cranberries, munthari, muntaberry, monterry.

 

Evergreen, creeping shrub with grassy green rounded leaves and dense fluffy white flowers.

 

Small (approx 10 mm round) green berries become tinged with pink to purple when ripe (generally late summer).

 

Uses - apple-sultana tasting berries which as fresh fruit could be added to salads or desserts.  Could be interchanged where apples are generally used in strudels, relishes, pies, muffins, teacakes or in stuffing/sauces with duck, chicken.

 

 

Native herbs            (Prostanthera rotundifolia)

 

            Commercial plantings: unknown.

 

P. rotundifolia is a native mint that grows well in cool moist situations.  It is a shrub to 2 metres high in optimum sites.  It will not tolerate subtropical conditions and is hardy to frost.  Native mint can be alternated with normal usage of mint.  Mentha australis and Native aniseeds also have potential as native herbs.

 

 

Native mountain pepper   (Tasmannia lanceolata)

 

            Commercial plantings: up to 5,000.

 

Also known as dorrigo, native alpine or snow pepper

 

Evergreen medium shrub to small tree with slender, dark green leaves, cream coloured flowers, berries turn black when ripe in late summer

 

Both the pepper leaves and pepper berries have an intensity of complex flavours.  Its use is similar to that of very coarsely cracked black pepper and whilst versatile as an alternative to traditional pepper, this additional strength of flavour must be remembered and the quantity used adjusted accordingly.

 

 

Quandong    (Santalum acuminatum)  

 

            Commercial plantings: approx. 40 - 50,000.

 

Also known as the desert, native or wild peach or bidjigal or gudi gudi.

 

Evergreen shrub to small tree with olive foliage; fruits (approx 15mm round with a large pitted kernel) turn from green to shades of red/yellow/pink when ripe (generally in spring).

 

Has rhubarb/apricot taste overtones, with the kernel (which is edible and is valued medicinally by Aboriginal communities) having the smell and taste of “bitter almonds”.  The fruit is generally used in its halved/dried form.

 

Uses - combine with muntries/munthari, peaches, figs, bananas, fresh ginger in both sweet or savoury dishes such as sauces, pies, cakes.

 

Riberry          (Syzygium leuhmannii)    

 

            Commercial plantings: up to 5,000.

 

Also known as clove lilly pilly, cherry alder.

 

Evergreen tree with glossy dark green leaves that are sometimes used as municipal street trees.

 

Red pear shaped fruit that ripens in late summer and is strongly clove and spice flavoured.

 

Uses - combine with red berries in a fruit salad or with rhubarb, plums, or peaches in a crumble, strudel, muffins, scones.  It blends well in sauces to accompany Australia’s native meats and game poultry such as quail.

 

 

Warrigal greens      (Tetragonia tetragonioides)

 

            Commercial plantings: up to 5,000.

 

Also known as Botany Bay greens/spinach, New Zealand spinach, warrigal cabbage.

 

A low, leafy, green, ground cover plant with green leaves that look like an arrow head.

 

Uses - the leaves must be lightly blanched (discard water) prior to use.  They can be chilled and used as a salad vegetable, in soup, with macadamia nuts in a pesto, in a roulade in place of baby spinach, in a dressing or sauce with bush tomato or basil or mountain pepper over pasta.

 

 

Wattleseed         (Acacia spp.)                 

 

            Commercial plantings: unknown.

 

There are probably about one thousand wattle species in Australia, a proportion of which Aboriginal people have been using for a variety of uses.  The number of these species suitable for food or culinary uses is much smaller and care should be taken to only prepare food from species specifically identified for food use.

 

Various quality levels of flour can be produced from the roasting and milling of the wattleseed.

 

Uses - the flour can be incorporated into breads, dampers, biscuits; with the prepared seeds being incorporated into dessert cones, mousses, hot drinks, pancakes and icecreams.

 


 

Wild lime       (Eremocitrus glauca, Microcitrus sp.)

 

            Commercial plantings: up to 500.

 

Also known as desert lime, limebush, native cumquat.

 

Dense, shrub to medium tree which flowers in July to September, with fruit ripening (in Summer) to a lime green to bright yellow colour.

 

It is a juicy fruit which has a West Indian lime flavour.

 

Uses - it mixes well with the flavours of ginger, chilli, coriander for butters, (sweet and savoury) sauces and mayonnaise.  It can also be added in marmalades, souffles, tarts and curds.

 

 

Wild rosella    (Hibiscus sabdariffa)

Native rosella  (Hibiscus heterophyllus)         

 

            Commercial plantings: unknown.

 

The wild rosella is an introduced species common in Northern Queensland and Northern Territory.  It has a tart flavour with a raspberry, rhubarb, plum quality.  The petals make jelly and can be used for dessert garnishes.  Native rosella is used in the same ways as Wild rosella.

 

 

Davidson plum  (Davidsonia pruriens)

 

The Davidson plum is included as a comparison species to Illawarra and Kakadu plums.  Commercial plantings: up to 500.

 

A slender native of rainforest areas of Northern NSW and Qld the Davidson plum can be interchanged with Illawarra plums.  The fruit is ripe when the skin is deep purple in colour and the flesh red.  Fruits mature in winter and are relatively easy to harvest as the fruits hang in clusters.  Minimal quantities of Davidson plums are used at this stage as it is currently more expensive at $30-32/Kg farm gate than Kakadu and Illawarra plum.

 

 

 

Farmed produce-costs and returns

 

The viable commercial production of native plant foods is at a very early stage.  The following species are identified as those with commercial application and as such to have a current farm gate value.

 

The species have been separated into plant type by definition as :

 

·       Groundcover, sub shrubs and herbs;

·       Shrubs; and

·       Trees.

 

Each category has a maximum density per hectare (density/ha) assuming in ground planting, adequate machinery access and irrigated production.  For the basis of calculating establishment costs per hectare the following assumptions have been made :

 

·       Plantings are single species grown in monoculture production systems;

·       Unless otherwise identified, plantings are inground;

·       Between row spacings allow for access of small horticultural machinery; and

·       In row spacings allow for minimally restricted natural canopy spread.

 

Limitations exist in calculating per hectare plant numbers assuming specific planting densities.  It is always possible to increase spacings (thus reducing density) and this may be considered appropriate in some situations :

 

·   to accommodate existing machinery; and

·   to avoid areas of frequent water logging.

 

Conversely it is also possible to markedly increase planting densities by vigorous canopy management techniques such as trellising and pot culture.

 

A preference exists for permacultural or polycultural plantings amongst a large component of current and potential producers of farmed bushfoods.  However, minimal information exists regarding the costs of production under these systems.  The present assessment therefore uses accepted main stream horticultural fruit, vegetable or herb production costs and practices as a basis for determining these costs and the resulting impact on gross margins.

 


 

Plant density,  yield and farm gate price

 

Plant type

Product

Density per hectare

Year of mature yield in brackets. Yield per plant at maturity in kilograms

Farm gate price in $ per kilogram

Groundcovers and Sub Shrubs

 

 

Bush tomatoes

(dried) fruit

8000

(2)

0.5Kg

$25

Muntries/ Munthari

(fresh) fruit

2000

(3)

1.5Kg

$12

Warrigal

(fresh) leaf

3000

(1)

0 2Kg

$8

Native herbs

- mint/mentha

- thyme

- aniseed

(dried) leaf

8000 pot culture

(1)

0.2Kg

 

$35

$85

$35

Shrubs

 

 

 

 

Native mint - Prostanthera spp

 

2000

(2)

1Kg

$35

Native mountain pepper

(dried) leaf berry

1200

Not available

$45

$45

Lemon myrtle

(fresh or dried) leaf

625

(3)

1.5 Kg

whole leaf $50

ground $55

Wild & native Rosella

(fresh)

flower

1500

(3)

40 flowers per 100g

fresh uncleaned $4

cleaned & frozen $8-$12

* Note Wild rosella is not an Australian native species.

 

Trees

 

 

 

 

Quandong (2nd grade)

frozen with stone

 

850

(5)

1Kg

 

$8

Quandong (2nd grade)

stone removed

 

 

$18

Quandong (2nd grade)

(dried) fruit

 

 

$40-55

Illawarra plum

(fresh) fruit

275

(5)

6Kg

$16

Kakadu plum

(fresh) fruit

275

(5)

10Kg

$13

Lemon aspen

(fresh) fruit

275

(5)

10Kg

$12

Riberry

(fresh) fruit

275

(5)

15Kg

$12-16

Wattleseed

(cleaned) seed

625

(5)

1.5Kg

$14

Wild lime

(fresh) fruit

625

(5)

2Kg

$10


 

1.   Plant density per hectare is calculated assuming 100 metre rows and spacings to suit maximised production and efficient management practices.  Note that it has been assumed that Lemon myrtle is trained as a shrub to maximise leaf yield potential.

 

2.   The expected year of mature or maximum yield is listed in brackets followed by yield in kilograms.  This information is as supplied by current native bushfood nursery producers.

 

3.   Farm gate prices are based on wild harvesters providing average $’s per kilogram prices received in the 1994/95 and 1995/96 financial years on produce sale to value adding manufacturers.  The prices do not reflect door sales to small restaurants and cottage industry manufacturers.

 

 

 

Costs of plantation establishment and production

 

The following costs of production have been calculated assuming a land area of 1 hectare.  For each plant type one example has been provided.  The examples are :

 

·   Ground covers and sub shrubs               :  Muntries/Munthari;

·   Shrubs                                                       :  Lemon myrtle; and

·   Trees                                                          :  Illawarra plum.

 

 

Risks exist in preparing general budgets and gross margins because of the many variables associated with horticultural production.

 

These variables may include :

·       Differing management practices used and therefore differing costs ie fertilisers, chemicals;

·       Yield variability and marketable yield per plant;

·       Soil type;

·       Quality of irrigation water or whether plantations are irrigated at all;

·       Irrigation capital and maintenance costs;

·       Geographic location of property (ie likelihood of frost, fire, wind damage);

·       Variable planting density;

·       Rate of annual plant mortality and the associated yield reduction with cumulative losses;

·       Machinery purchase and maintenance;

·       Harvesting and packaging costs;

·       Transport costs to market;

·       Costs of planting material;

·       Cost of land, fencing, wind breaks and packing shed; and

·       Cost of finance, insurance, rates and taxes.


 

Costs of establishment

 

The following costs do not include capital items such as machinery, fencing, wind breaks, land, shedding for processing and packing or coolrooms.  It also excludes direct operating overheads such as rates/taxes, depreciation, insurance and finance interest.  These costs have been excluded as they will vary significantly according to individual growers.  For example a farmer who already owns land, shed and machinery to work the block will have considerably lower establishment costs than a person who needs to purchase land and machinery.  As such the resulting gross margins are not considered to be net profit and/or loss figures.

 

Plant material cost

Based on average wholesale prices of plants currently available from commercial nurseries.

 

Species

Plants/hectare x $

Total $/hectare

Bush tomatoes

8000 x $1.50

$12000

Muntries

2000 x $1.50

$3000

Warrigal

3000 x $1.00

$3000

Native mint

2000 x $1.50

$3000

Native herbs

8000 x $1.50

$12000

Native mountain pepper

1200 x $2.30

$2760

Lemon myrtle

625 x $2.00

$1250

Native rosella

1500 x $2.50

$3750

Quandong - grafted

850 x $14.00

$11900

Quandong - seedling

850 x $3.00

$2550

Illawarra plum

275 x $2.30

$632

Kakadu plum

275 x $2.50

$687

Lemon aspen

275 x $2.50

$687

Riberry

275 x $2.00

$550

Wattleseed

625 x $1.00

$625

Wild lime - seedling

625 x $2.50

$1562

 

 

 

 

Year 0 - Establishment costs.

 

Mounding and/or ripping to prepare soil.

10 hours/ha x $45/hour

$450

 

 

 

Irrigation system

Solar powered, automatic controller, in line drip emitters

 

$3500

 

 

 

Mechanical planting

Upto 6000 plants/8 hours day with a work force of 5 x $12/hour

 

$480

 

 

 

 

 

$4430

 


General budget - Muntries/Munthari per hectare

 

 

 

Year 0

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Base

Sensitivity to price/kilogram returns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Case

5 hectares

-10%

-20%

-30%

-40%

-50%

-60%

Assumptions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plants/hectare 1

2000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yield/plant 2

(1.5 kg)

 

 

0.5

1.0

1.5

1.5

1.5

1.5

1.5

1.5

1.5

1.5

Purchase price/plant 3

$1.50

$3000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return per kilogram 4

$12

 

 

$12

$12

$12

$12

$10.80

$9.60 11

$8.40

$7.20

$6.00

$4.80 12

Kilogram per hectare

 

 

 

1000

2000

3000

15000 (per 5 hectares)

15000

15000

15000

15000

15000

15000

Establishment costs

 

$4430

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return per hectare

 

$0

$0

$12000

$24000

$36000

$180000

$162000

$114000

$126000

$108000

$90000

$72000

Variable costs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farm maintenance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

- labour 5

 

$4992

$4992

$5241

$5503

$5579

$27895

 

 

 

 

 

 

- fertiliser & chemicals

 

$600

$600

$630

$660

$695

$3475

 

 

 

 

 

 

- irrigation 6

 

$2200

$2200

$2310

$2425

$2546

$12730

 

 

 

 

 

 

- operating expenses 7

 

$720

$720

$756

$794

$834

$4170

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sub Total

 

$15942

$8512

$8937

$9382

$9654

$48270

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Year 0

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Base

Sensitivity to price/kilogram returns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Case

5 hectares

-10%

-20%

-30%

-40%

-50%

-60%

CFWD

 

$15942

$8512

$8937

$9382

$9654

$48270

$162000

$114000

$126000

$108000

$90000

$72000

Harvest & post harvest labour 8

 

 

 

$3200

$6400

$9600

$48000

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post harvest transport 9

 

 

 

$1000

$2000

$3150

$15750

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total operating costs

 

$15942

$8512

$13137

$17782

$22404

$112020

$112020

$112020

$112020

$112020

$112020

$112020

Percentage of revenue

 

 

 

109%

74.09%

62.23%

62.23%

69.14%

77.79%

88.90%

103.7%

124.46%

155.58%

Gross margin (gross sales revenue minus total operating costs)

 

-$15942

-$8512

-$1137

$6218

$13596

$67980 10

$49980

$31980

$13980

-$4020

-$22020

-$40020

 

Notes to accompany the general budget are provided on the following page.


 

1.       Planting density is that recommended by nursery producers and assumes monocultural production.

 

2.       Yield per plant is an average achieved from wild harvested material.  Yields may improve considerably under well managed commercial cultivation.

 

3.       Average costs per plant in current nursery lists for tubestock.

 

4.       Average return per kilogram in 1995/96 as paid by native bushfood processors.

 

5.       Pruning, weeding and maintenance at 8 hours/week x $12/hour x 52 weeks.  This is an accepted maintenance level within well managed horticultural production systems.

 

6.       2500 kilolitres per year x $0.88¢ per kilolitre.  This consumption level assumes water application for stress relief during dry months, ie November - May, in warm temperate zones.  Per kilolitre price is an average for mains water application.  An obvious reduction in costs will occur if irrigable water is available from ground water, river or other catchment sources.

 

7.       Fungicide + pesticide application and slashing.  Two hours/hectare x 8 passes/year x $45/hour (includes contract labour, tractor, spray unit and slasher).

 

8.       Harvest labour calculated at $3.20/kilogram assuming 3.75 kilograms harvested per hour per person.  At approximately 400 Muntries per 200 grams this provides for 2000 Muntries per kilogram or 7500 Muntries harvested per hour.

 

9.       Calculated at $1 per kilogram being the average cost quoted by road and air freight forwarders.

 

10.   Gross margin (per 5 hectares) assuming this land area represents an enterprise size manageable by a family unit.

 

11.   Return per kilogram at which a 5 hectare plantation will provide a gross margin allowing a “reasonable” income from effort (subject to level of debt servicing required).

 

12.   Return per kilogram at which mainstream food manufacturers may consider production utilising Australian native bushfoods (see Chapter 5).

 


 

 

General budget - Lemon myrtle

 

 

 

Year 0

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Base

Sensitivity to price/kilogram returns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Case

5 hectares

-10%

-20%

-30%

-40%

-50%

-60%

Assumptions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plants/hectare 1

625

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yield/plant (fresh)

2 kg

 

 

1 kg

1.5 kg

2 kg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yield per plant (dried) 2

1.5 kg

 

 

0.5 kg

0.75 kg

1.5 kg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purchase price/plant 3

$2.00

$1250

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return/kilogram (dried) 4

$50

 

 

$50

$50

$50

$50

$45

$40

$35

$30 11

$25 12

$20

Kilogram per hectare (dried)

937.5

 

 

312.5

468.75

937.5

4687.5 kg

 

 

 

 

 

 

Establishment costs

 

$4430

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return/hectare

 

$0

$0

$15625

$23437

$46875

$234375

$210937

$187500

$164062

$140625

$117187

$93750

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Variable costs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farm maintenance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

- labour 5

 

$4992

$4992

$5241

$5503

$5579

$27895

 

 

 

 

 

 

- fertiliser & chemicals

 

$600

$600

$630

$660

$695

$3475

 

 

 

 

 

 

- irrigation 6

 

$2200

$2200

$2310

$2425

$2546

$12730

 

 

 

 

 

 

- operating expenses 7

 

$720

$720

$756

$794

$834

$4170

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sub Total

 

$14192

$8512

$8937

$9382

$9654

$48270

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Year 0

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Base

Sensitivity to price/kilogram returns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Case

5 hectares

-10%

-20%

-30%

-40%

-50%

-60%

CFWD

 

$14192

$8512

$8937

$9382

$9654

$48270

$210937

$187500

$164062

$140625

$117187

$93750

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harvest labour 8

$3.20/kg

 

 

$2000

$4000

$4200

$21000

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post harvest labour (drying & grinding)

$3.20/kg

 

 

$2000

$4000

$4200

$6250

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post harvest transport 9

$1/kg

 

 

$625

$1250

$1250

$21000

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total operating costs

 

$14192

$8512

$13562

$18632

$19304

$96520 10

$96520

$96520

$96520

$96520

$96520

$96520

Percentage of revenue attributed to costs

 

 

 

86.79%

79.49%

41.18%

41.18%

45.75%

51.47%

58.83%

68.63%

82.36%

102.95%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gross margin

 

-$14192

-$8512

$2063

$4805

$27571

$137855

$114417

$90980

$67542

$44105

$20667

-$2770

 

Notes to accompany the general budget are provided on the following page.

 


 

1.       Planting density is that recommended by nursery producers and assumes monocultural production.

 

2.       Yield per plant is an average achieved from wild harvested material.  Yields may improve considerably under well managed commercial cultivation.

 

3.       Average costs per plant in current nursery lists for tubestock.

 

4.       Average return per kilogram in 1995/96 as paid by native bushfood processors.

 

5.       Pruning, weeding and maintenance at 8 hours/week x $12/hour x 52 weeks.  This is an accepted maintenance level within well managed horticultural production systems.

 

6.       2500 kilolitres per year x $0.88¢ per kilolitre.  This consumption level assumes water application for stress relief during dry months, ie November - May, in warm temperate zones.  Per kilolitre price is an average for mains water application.  An obvious reduction in costs will occur if irrigable water is available from ground water, river or other catchment sources.

 

7.       Fungicide + pesticide application and slashing.  Two hours/hectare x 8 passes/year x $45/hour (includes contract labour, tractor, spray unit and slasher).

 

8.       Harvest labour calculated at $3.20/kilogram assuming 3.75 kilograms harvested per hour per person.

 

9.       Calculated at $1 per kilogram being the average cost quoted by road and air freight forwarders.

 

10.   Gross margin (per 5 hectares) assuming this land area represents an enterprise size manageable by a family unit.

 

11.   Return per kilogram at which a 5 hectare plantation will provide a gross margin allowing a “reasonable” income from effort (subject to level of debt servicing required).

 

12.   Return per kilogram at which mainstream food manufacturers may consider production utilising Australian native bushfoods (see Chapter 5).

 

 

 


 

General budget - Illawarra plum

 

 

 

Year 0

Year

Year

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Base

Sensitivity to price/kilogram returns

 

 

 

1

2

 

 

 

Case

5 hectares

-10%

-20%

-30%

-40%

-50%

-60%

Assumptions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plants/hectare 1

275

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yield/plant 2

 

0

0

0

1 kg

5 kg

10 kg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purchase price/plant 3

$2.30

$632

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return per kilogram 4

$16

 

 

 

 

 

 

$16

$14.40

$12.80

$11.20 11

$9.60

$8.00

$6.40 12

Kilogram per hectare

 

0

0

0

275

1375

2750

13750 kg (per 5 ha)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Establishment

costs

 

$4430

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return per hectare

 

 

 

 

$4400

$22000

$44000

$220000

$198000

$176000

$154000

$132000

$110000

$88000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Variable costs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farm maintenance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

- labour 5

 

$4992

$5241

$5503

$5579

$6068

$6371

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

- fertiliser & chemicals

 

$600

$630

$660

$695

$730

$766

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

- irrigation 6

 

$2200

$2310

$2425

$2546

$2675

$2808

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

- operating expenses 7

 

$720

$756

$794

$834

$875

$918

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sub Total

 

$13574

$8937

$9382

$9654

$10348

$10863

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Year 0

Year

Year

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Base

Sensitivity to price/kilogram returns

 

 

 

1

2

 

 

 

Case

5 hectares

-10%

-20%

-30%

-40%

-50%

-60%

CFWD

 

$13574

$8937

$9382

$9654

$10348

$10863

$220000

$198000

$176000

$154000

$132000

$110000

$88000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harvest labour 8

@ $3.20 per kg

 

 

 

$880

$4400

$8800

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post harvest transport 9

@ $1 per kg

 

 

 

$275

$1375

$2750

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total operating costs

 

$12942

$8937

$9382

$10809

$16123

$22413

$112065

$112065

$112065

$112065

$112065

$112065

$112065

Percentage of revenue attributed to costs

 

 

 

 

245%

73.28%

50.93%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gross margin

 

$12942

$8937

$9382

$7234

$1752

$13337

$107935 10

$85935

$63935

$41935

$19935

-$2065

-$24065

 

Notes to accompany the general budget are provided on the following page.

 


 

1.       Planting density is that recommended by nursery producers and assumes monocultural production.

 

2.       Yield per plant is an average achieved from wild harvested material.  Yields may improve considerably under well managed commercial cultivation.

 

3.       Average costs per plant in current nursery lists for tubestock.

 

4.       Average return per kilogram in 1995/96 as paid by native bushfood processors.

 

5.       Pruning, weeding and maintenance at 8 hours/week x $12/hour x 52 weeks.  This is an accepted maintenance level within well managed horticultural production systems.

 

6.       2500 kilolitres per year x $0.88¢ per kilolitre.  This consumption level assumes water application for stress relief during dry months, ie November - May, in warm temperate zones.  Per kilolitre price is an average for mains water application.  An obvious reduction in costs will occur if irrigable water is available from ground water, river or other catchment sources.

 

7.       Fungicide + pesticide application and slashing.  Two hours/hectare x 8 passes/year x $45/hour (includes contract labour, tractor, spray unit and slasher).

 

8.       Harvest labour calculated at $3.20/kilogram assuming 3.75 kilograms harvested per hour per person.

 

9.       Calculated at $1 per kilogram being the average cost quoted by road and air freight forwarders.

 

10.   Gross margin (per 5 hectares) assuming this land area represents an enterprise size manageable by a family unit.

 

11.   Return per kilogram at which a 5 hectare plantation will provide a gross margin allowing a “reasonable” income from effort (subject to level of debt servicing required).

 

12.   Return per kilogram at which mainstream food manufacturers may consider production utilising Australian native bushfoods (see Chapter 5).


 

Wild harvesting - issues and costs

 

The following information has been provided by wild harvesters who have created a business of coordinating wild bushfood harvests.  The information has been included to demonstrate costs currently associated with wild harvest.  The level of costs clearly demonstrates a significant potential to reduce raw produce costs under cultivated systems.  The following factors are given as major contributors to costs;

 

·       The high cost of maintaining “out post” picking camps directly related to equipment and consumables ie fuel and labour;

 

·       The high variability of costs each season related to yield ie heavily laden trees in close proximity vs scanty fruit spread over wide areas; and

 

·       The cost of harvesting over very large distances recognising that there are insufficient species and quantities in one picking zone/state to support a viable business.

 

The following costs have been provided as those incurred in harvesting, processing and packaging to the point of sale.

 

Product

$/tonne

 

 

Wattleseed

$13,800

Quandong

$33,600

Muntries/Munthari

$20,000

Acrotiche

$24,000

Bush tomato

$17,500

 

 

 

Issues

 

·       Crops have short harvest periods and are therefore very cost intensive ie high costs over short periods and long sale periods therefore extended periods to recoup costs;

·       Realistic “economies of scale” for a full time business require tonnage sales far in excess of current demand.  This is exacerbated by the payment schedules currently adopted by the wholesale and retail trade;

·       Wild harvesters attempt to secure pre season sales providing security against costs incurred.  If orders are not received and product is not harvested the industry risks inconsistent supply; and

·       Seasonal hobby pickers create difficulties in destabilising demand and price.

 

 

Discussions with various industry groups and growers known to have potentially commercial plantings has identified many issues.  Many constraints were species specific so have not been included in this report.  The following issues are considered to present the most significant constraints to commercial industry growth at farm level.


 

The issues may impact on:

·       quality;

·       food safety;

·       production efficiency;

·       produce value;

·       yield potential;

·       production costs; and

·       farm gate returns.

 

 

Issues

·       There is little completed work on improved plant genotype selection.  Yields will be extremely variable for seed grown plants as will years to harvest and produce quality.  The seriousness of this issue is readily demonstrated by the increasing quality and yield requirement needed by mainstream horticultural and agricultural producers to offset increasing production costs, fluctuating returns and the high costs of labour while still maintaining business viability.  Information dissemination systems need to be developed to ensure proper information flow transfer to growers.  This transfer should occur from both a national level ie quality standards as well as from regional grower groups who may conduct very specific r&d relevant to local regions and species.

 

Selection work is currently being undertaken by CSIRO for Microcitrus,

Eremocitrus and Quandong (see Appendix 5).

 

Early selection work has also been completed for Lemon myrtle, Native

mountain pepper, Riberry and Illawarra plum by native plant food nurseries

and current native food industry processors;

 

·       Defined product standards do not exist thus creating problems with:

 

·       product quality and food safety.  The Australian Quandong Industry Association have commenced initial work in defining raw product standards for the Quandong.  These standards may be discussed with AQIA representatives.  Food Safety Standards (SQF2000) are discussed in Appendix 6; and

·       The potential for seedling-grown produce not meeting defined industry standards at time of harvest.  This is particularly an issue for “long lead time” species such as Quandong, Riberry etc.  The market has already suggested that seedless Riberry are preferred.  Should this preference become a minimum required standard significant amounts of produce that contains seed will have minimal value;

 

·       There is little knowledge on appropriate post harvest handling, transport and storage to maximise produce quality and shelf life.  These matters will be particularly important with fresh fruits;

 

·       There is a lack of general understanding regarding the toxicological issues surrounding certain species.  It is imperative that a definitive list be established and made widely available ensuring correct species are planted.  The Acacia utilised for wattleseed is the most obvious example with only a few of the many hundreds of species known as safe for human consumption;


 

·       A general lack of knowledge regarding the most appropriate agronomic management practices to maximise yield and quality will result in low returns to the producer.  This will be compounded by high labour costs in minimally mechanised production systems.  Management practices for fruit and vegetables that appear to be appropriate for native bushfoods should be adapted to suit.  This should enable production efficiencies at an early stage of commercial growing.  As well the commercial producer should be able to provide produce at reduced farm gate prices, which will potentially encourage increased processor demand.  This may alleviate the potential for oversupply of some species;

 

·       Several species are used in very similar va products and have flavours and textures that are not significantly different.  It is likely that one species will dominate in market demand as a result of it also being more easily handled, longer keeping qualities, better price etc.  Hence, it is doubtful that large markets will develop for all species of similar tastes and uses ie Illawarra plum is gaining preference in the market place over Kakadu plum.  Davidsons plum is considered more acceptable than Kakadu plum on flavour and appearance but is less acceptable on price.  In such cases the market should be carefully assessed to determine minimum standards, flavour and texture requirements with the information made readily available at farm gate level to ensure appropriate plantings;

 

·       Sensitivity analyses suggest that commercial production will not be viable with current yields and production costs given per kilogram prices that mainstream manufacturers expect to pay.  This again demonstrates the need for production efficiencies to minimise costs and maximise yields;

 

·       Lack of chemicals registered for use will present problems.  R&d should be undertaken to pursue immediate pest and disease problems that are seen to have a serious impact on grower returns.  Chemicals with minimal toxicity need to be tested with management handling systems  and permits for use established;

 

·       There is minimal mechanisation of seasonal tasks relating to native food production.  This significantly impacts on operating expenses with high labour costs, particularly at harvest.  It can be expected however, that harvest costs will not be as extreme as those currently experienced by wild harvesters as the fuel, accommodation and isolation costs are negated; and

 

·       The magnitude of current inground plantings suggests an oversupply situation in the near future if market demand does not increase.  This will dramatically reduce farm gate prices.  See Appendix 3 for complete species list including known inground plantings.

 

 


 

4    Processing sector

 

Introduction

 

A review of current Australian native bushfood processors and resulting manufactured product has been undertaken.  It sought to provide the following information :

 

·       A list of va products currently manufactured with average wholesale prices;

·       Raw produce quantities traded annually; and

·       Issues, threats and constraints creating a limit to industry growth and/or market demand.

 

For the purposes of this report, a native bushfood processor is considered to be a business primarily involved in purchasing raw or partially processed native bushfood produce ie (roasted wattleseed) and further processing to provide packaged va products to food service, hospitality and retail outlets.  The processors generally also market raw, dried or frozen (uncooked) produce in packaged form for the food service/restaurant or specialty retail sectors.

 

 

Current bushfood market sectors

 

Existing players in the Australian native bushfood industry generally market their range(s) of produce and products in the following areas :

 

·       Retail sales through specialty food stores and delicatessens;

·       Distributorships through outlets which either distribute their produce/product solely throughout a region or carry their line in conjunction with other conventional va food products - this tends to specifically service the hospitality food service/caterer’s sector of the food industry;

·       Specifically targeted tourist sales through food halls in major department stores and airport stores.  Ranges in this sector are generally confined to va product;

·       Provision of a predetermined product to fulfil a specific requirement eg the supply of Wattleseed for addition to products such as ANZAC biscuits or patisserie items such as cakes for airlines or resorts; and

·       Supermarket trials recently conducted over a four month period have involved the va product of five or six processors.

 


 

Following are tables which outline indicative pricing levels for wholesale produce and for the variety of manufactured va products that feature the 14 species previously identified in Chapter 3.  The indicative prices given demonstrate an average range as listed by current processors and do not reflect seasonal price fluctuations.

 

Raw produce and annual tonnages traded.

 

Species

Type

Wholesale price/kg

(approximate)

Total product used by processors. 1995-96 (tonne) 1

Bush tomatoes

Whole, dried

$55 - $60

       5.0

Illawarra plum

Fresh, frozen

$27 - $30

       2.5

Kakadu plum

Fresh, frozen

$26 - $30

       2.5

Lemon aspen

Fresh, frozen

$28 - $30

       3.6

Lemon myrtle

Dried, ground

$90 - $120

       2.5

Lemon myrtle

Whole leaf, dried

$100 - $110

       2.5

Muntries/Munthari

Fresh, frozen

$24 - $26

       5

Native herbs

Aniseed, dried

$3 - $6 per 25g

 

Native herbs

Mint, dried

$3 - $8 per 25g

       0.04

Native herbs

Thyme, dried

$5 - $8 per 25g

 

Native mountain pepper

Dried leaf and berry

$110

       2.5

Quandong

2nd grade dried halved

$90 - $110

       5.0

Riberry

Fresh, frozen

$30 - $35

       2.5

Warrigal greens

Fresh

$2.50 - $16

       0.22

Wattleseed

Clean, roasted

$30 - $35

       6.0

Wattleseed

Clean, roasted, ground

$53 - $59

 

Wild lime

Fresh, frozen

$28 - $30

       0.71

Wild rosella

Fresh, frozen

$28 - $30

       3.0

1 Information on tonnage used reflects current demand from bushfood processors and

   is provided by processors and wild harvesters.


 

Value added (va) products

 

The following information outlines indicative wholesale prices.  It does not attempt to make any comment regarding the consistency or quality of the individual product named.

 

Species

va product

Wholesale price per kg  (approximate)

Bush tomatoes

·       Bush tomato chutney

$19 - $24

 

·       Bush tomato sauce

$18 - $25 per litre

 

·       Bush tomato chilli jam

$20 - $22

 

·       Bush tomato dressing

$15 - $16 per litre

 

·       Bush tomato salsa

$19 - $25

 

·       Bush tomato ground

$55 - $58

 

 

 

Illawarra plum

·       spicy Illawarra plum chutney

$20 - $25

 

·       Illawarra plum & chilli sauce

$22 - $25

 

·       Illawarra plum sauce

$17 - $20

 

 

 

Kakadu plum

·       spreadable Kakadu plum

$17 - $20

 

·       Kakadu plum & chilli sauce

$22 - $25

 

·       Kakadu plum jelly

$22 - $25

 

 

 

Lemon aspen

·       Lemon aspen & Quandong marmalade

$14 - $16

 

·       Lemon aspen curd

$22 - $25

 

·       Lemon aspen syrup

$18 - $22 per litre

 

·       Lemon aspen cordial

$8 - $11 per litre

 

·       Lemon aspen conserve

$17 - $19

 

·       Lemon aspen & Macadamia dressing

$20 - $22

 

·       Lemon aspen & Raspberry relish

$22 - $25

 

·       Lemon aspen juice

$58 - $68 per litre

 

 

 

Lemon myrtle

·       Lemon myrtle & Akadjura mustard

$13 - $15

 

·       Lemon myrtle & Native pepper sauce

$22 - $25

 

·       Lemon myrtle chilli sauce

$13 - $16

 

·       Lemon myrtle dressing

$14 - $16 per litre

 

·       Lemon myrtle vinegar

$9 - $13 per litre

 

·       Lemon myrtle pasta

$10 - $14

 

·       Lemon myrtle oil

$40 - $50 per litre

 

·       Lemon myrtle tea mix

$25 - $27

 

 

 

Muntries/Munthari

·       Munthari & Lemon myrtle chutney

$18 - $20

 

·       Muntries/Munthari chutney

$20 - $25

 

 

 

Native herbs

·       Mango/Native mint salsa

$22 - $25

 

 

 


 

Species

va product

Wholesale price per kg  (approximate)

Native mountain pepper

·       Pepper leaf mustard

$14 - $15

 

·       Mountain pepper pies

$1 - $1.50 each 90g

 

·       Red wine/Pepper leaf pasta

$11 - $18

 

·       Emu/Pepper leaf pate

$20 - $24 approx 700g

 

 

 

Quandong

·       Quandong jam

$20 - $24

 

 

 

Riberry

·       Riberry & Ginger relish

$22 - $25

 

·       Riberry vinegar

$9 - $10 per litre

 

·       Riberry syrup

$10 - $12 per litre

 

 

 

Warrigal spinach

·       Warrigal & Bush tomato chutney

$15 - $16

 

·       Warrigal greens pesto

$22 - $25

 

·       Warrigal pasta

$10 - $16

 

 

 

Wattleseed

·       Wattleseed & Macadamia mustard

$14 - $16

 

·       Wattleseed pastas

$16 - $20

 

·       Wattleseed coffee mix

$27 - $30

 

·       Wattleseed syrup

$20 - $22 per litre

 

 

 

Wild lime

·       Wild lime curd

$22 - $25

 

·       Wild lime syrup

$20 - $22 per litre

 

·       Wild lime & chilli marmalade

$20 - $25

 

·       Wild lime & Lemon myrtle marinade

$9 - $10 per litre

 

·       Wild lime & Lemon myrtle marmalade

$14 - $16

 

 

 

Wild rosella

·       Wild rosella syrup

$18 - $22 per litre

 

·       Rosella & Illawarra plum jam

$17 - $20

 

·       Wild rosella jam

$20 - $22

 

·       Wild rosella cordial

$9 - $10 per litre


 

Concern has been expressed by current and potential producers considering entering the industry that there is a serious lack of information regarding market demand and the potential for oversupply, causing significant reductions in farm gate value.  The following table seeks to demonstrate simply the plant numbers required to fully supply current demand.  Area planted assumes the same density per hectare as listed in Chapter 2.  Potential yields have been given for known plantings as also discussed in Chapter 2 and clearly demonstrate an oversupply situation for several species in the very near future unless there is a significant increase in demand.

 

 

Capacity to supply current native bushfood processors through commercial cultivation

 

Species

Plant density per hectare

Yield per plant (kg)

Yield/

hectare (tonne)

Current known plantings

Yield potential of known plantings (tonne)

Actual demand 1995/96 (tonnes)

 

Bush tomatoes

8,000

0.5 kg

4.0

12,000

6.0*

5.0

Muntries/ Munthari

2,000

1.5 kg

3.0

5,000

7.5*

5.0

Warrigal

3,000

2 kg

6.0

5,000

10.0*

0.22

Native herbs

8,000 (pot culture)

0.2 kg

1.6

unknown

-

0.04

Native mountain pepper

1,200

unknown

-

5,000

-

2.5

Lemon myrtle

625

2 kg

1.250

5,000

10.0*

5.0

Quandong

850

1 kg

0.85

40-50,000

40.0*

5.0

Illawarra plum

275

6 kg

1.65

500

3.0*

2.5

Kakadu plum

275

10 kg

2.75

unknown

-

2.5

Lemon aspen

275

10 kg

2.75

5,000

50.0*

3.6

Riberry

275

15 kg

4.125

5,000

75.0*

2.5

Wattleseed

625

1.5 kg

0.93

unknown

-

6.0

Wild lime

625

2 kg

1.25

500

1.0

0.71

* Oversupply - Actual oversupply of produce will be determined by :

 

·       years to mature yield for each species; and

·       market growth and resulting increase in demand.

 

 

 


 

The following matters are considered to be those that will most significantly impact on industry growth and profit in this sector.

 

 

Issues

 

·       Any successful foray into the retail sector, either through delicatessens or convenience supermarkets, requires an undertaking to conduct public information displays of the va product including how to use and blend with mainstream foods.  The consumer resistance to native bushfood at this stage appears largely related to lack of awareness and limited knowledge of uses.

 

In the case of supermarket trials at selected stores across Australia,

processors must realise that in store demonstrations (away from their home

state) are a necessary undertaking in the marketing of their products. 

Historically, it has been demonstrated, with new product launches, that a

marketing campaign is necessary to secure market share.  Several avenues

can be used to create public awareness of the new product and create a desire

to purchase.  Typically large food manufacturers will use visual media (ie

television) but this would not be an option for the smaller processor due to

cost constraints.  In store demonstrations are a useful way of creating

consumer awareness at the point of sale.  Although much cheaper than media

advertising the processor must still consider the costs of :

 

·       providing product;

·       travel and staff expenses;

·       equipment for demonstration purposes; and

·       maintaining equipment and surroundings ensuring compliance to food handling laws;

 

 

·       Similarly, through appointed distributorships, there is a need for the professionals in the hospitality food service/catering sector to also become aware of and comfortable using product.  The ongoing promotion and education in both of these sectors will have a very significant bearing on the longer term future of the industry as they are closely tied to the potential for industry growth by the creation of complementary industry links as discussed in Chapter 7;

 

·       The industry should conduct indepth research in an attempt to quantify realistic growth potential and market share in both the domestic and export sectors.  This information should be based on sales performance of similar products in corresponding price ranges.  This information will serve to provide more accurate predictions of the potential for cultivated production;

 

·       The relationship between acceptable shelf price of va products and raw produce and manufacturing costs will have a direct bearing on profit margins to the processor.  However it must be recognised that irrespective of in store demonstrations and promotion, the consumer will still make a repeat purchase decision primarily based on value for money rather than the “experience of tasting a unique flavour”;


 

·      Bushfood processors state that most of the costs of production are similar to that of other ‘gourmet food’ processors but there are several “unique” problems that significantly impact on the final cost and/or cashflow.

 

These are :

·      High $ per kilogram raw produce prices which are directly linked to the high percentage of produce being sourced through wild harvesting/collecting methods.  Chapter 3 provides detail of wild harvest requirements