Australian wheat is well-regarded in South East Asia for a wide range of Asian-style noodles but is less preferred for premium bread products in the same region, research conducted by the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC) has found.

Speaking at a forum at Waite hosted by PIRSA and the University of Adelaide, AEGIC researchers Roslyn Jettner and Larisa Cato (pictured) outlined the results of a project which looked at the wheat qualities valued by South East Asian markets for bread and noodle end-products. The project, supported by the Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC), surveyed 80 participants from 20 milling companies in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines to identify their wheat quality preferences for a range of Asian-style noodle and bread products.

South East Asia is the largest and fastest-growing market for Australian wheat with noodles and bread the dominant end-products for flour use. The study found that after price, end-product attributes are rated highly by flour mills in South East Asia when making wheat purchases.

Australian wheat has an excellent reputation for noodles, and qualities like noodle colour and texture, wet gluten content and milling yield can differentiate Australian wheat from grain from other countries. However, the research showed that US and Canadian wheat was preferred over Australian wheat for bread products in the South East Asian market. For breads, loaf volume was the single most important attribute of wheat influencing probability of choice and willingness to pay higher prices.

For both noodles and bread products, country of origin and on-farm practices were not as important as end-product qualities in influencing decisions made when selecting wheat.

“Australia needs to defend its share of the South East Asian noodle market, drive improvements in wheat quality for bread making, and provide more technical support for the Australian industry and South East Asian milling companies,” Roslyn Jetter said.

“Industry can use this knowledge to build the value proposition around the preferred characteristics through breeding, classification, production and accumulation.”

Roslyn Jetter, AEGIC Program Leader (left) and Dr Larisa Cato, AEGIC Wheat Quality Technical Markets Manager (right)

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