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Colour, flavour a selling point in Asian wholegrain markets

Australian wheat has an advantage for the production of Asian noodles when it comes to cleanliness, colour and flavour.
Photo: Brad Collis

Clean, bright, nutritious Australian wholegrains are poised to become a top choice in Asian markets as customers become more interested in health and economic benefits.

The Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC) is helping Australian growers capture some of this premium market by supplying technical information about the benefits of Australian wholegrains to flour millers and food manufacturers across Asia, increasing the likelihood that they will choose Australian wheat.

The value proposition is compelling. By 2030 it is estimated that wholegrain products could make up 10 per cent of the market in Asia, which equates to a one-million-tonne market worth more than $350 million. Capturing some of this market would potentially create significant value for Australian growers.

Recognising this opportunity, AEGIC demonstrated in 2020 that Australian wheat has unique advantages for wholegrain products in Asian markets when it comes to cleanliness, colour and flavour.

Generally speaking, Asian consumers prefer bright, stable colours and neutral flavours in wheat-based products.

Competitor wheat exporters such as North America and the Black Sea grow red wheat, which is darker than white Australian wheat. Red wheat is acceptable for white flour, because the red bran is removed, leaving the white endosperm. But when it comes to wholegrain foods, red wheat is at a disadvantage because it can make bread and noodles darker in colour, while also giving them a bitter flavour.

The white bran of Australian wheat does not have these issues, giving it a clear advantage in Asian markets.

AEGIC has been taking this message to grain customers in Asian countries including China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia (with more to come). These markets are increasingly interested in the health benefits of wholegrains and are looking for ways of increasing wholegrain consumption.

With the health benefits come substantial economic gains. Recent findings from the Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council showed that Australia could save $1.4 billion in healthcare costs just by increasing wholegrain consumption. When applied to Asian markets with their large populations, the cost savings will be huge, which is yet more evidence that can be used to communicate the benefits of Australian wholegrains.

The flour millers and food companies AEGIC is talking to are very interested in this information, and they are particularly hungry for practical technical information about how to produce wholegrain flour.

To fill this gap, AEGIC’s milling experts produced a bespoke technical guide specifically for international millers to help them mill wholegrain wheat. The 30-page guide provides a set of best practices for milling, storage and handling of wholegrain to ensure companies can optimise value. Key to this is the selection of Australian wheat as their starting material.

AEGIC is an investment of GRDC and the Western Australian State Government.

This project received additional direct investment from the WA Government through the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

More information: Dr Hayfa Salman, 02 8025 3200,

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