Exposing Victorian food to the US

Friday, 24 March, 2006

The Victorian food industry has tantalised the tastebuds of visiting US speciality food buyers during a three day tour of the state starting in Melbourne recently.

The Austrade-hosted tour, co-sponsored by the Victorian State Government, will provide the Victorian food industry with an opportunity to showcase its talents to three of America's most influential specialty food buyers and tap into the $34 billion US specialty food market, which is estimated to be growing at 7-8% each year.

The tour includes visits to Yellingbo Gold's olive groves, the Yarra Valley Dairy's pastures, the Healesville Hotel's dining room and the Harvest of Gippsland Festival's savouries.

Beth Goslin, Austrade's Food and Beverage business development manager in New York, said that the aim of the tour is to introduce these buyers to quality Victorian foods through visits to farms, factories and restaurants and open up valuable export opportunities for local businesses to the enormous US market.

"Americans are increasingly purchasing Australian specialty food products. We expect this trend to continue in the coming years and envisage Australian food being embraced by American consumers with the same enthusiasm as Australian wines."

"The Australia-US Free Trade Agreement provides numerous tariff reductions on cheeses, nuts, olives and other specialty food items, and many Australian specialty food exporters are able to pass these savings along, making Australian products even more appealing to American buyers," Ms Goslin said.

Reflecting the dramatic growth of interest in gourmet Australian food by American consumers, this tour comes on the back of the largest-ever gathering of Australian food in the United States for the Fancy Food Festival recently held in San Francisco.

Austrade provides support for Australian exporters in the US market with representation in 18 US cities, seven specialist industry teams and a dedicated network of US Export Advisers around Australia.

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