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Dispatches from the bottom of the world

Last week, Nutrition Business Journal’s fearless founder Tom Aarts returned from business in the land down under, bringing back intel on the Aussie nutrition industry.

Australia’s in a great place economically, benefiting from a wealth of natural resources, resource-hungry Asian and Oceanic neighbors, an open trade market, and a healthy financial system, with the fifth-most-traded currency on the globe, according to The Economist.

With a high population of city-dwellers (nearly 90% of Aussies live in urban areas) and a per-person GDP of over USD $55,000 in 2010, Australia’s 22 million people support a bustling nutrition market, with a well-organized organic foods contingent and a respectable supplement industry.

Challenges certainly abound for U.S. companies looking to set up shop in Australia, says Mr. Aarts, but so do opportunities. Here are a few details to consider before branching out:


  • The Therapeutic Goods Administration—Australia’s equivalent to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration—takes a tougher stance on regulating dietary supplements than any U.S. agency, with requirements bordering on pre-approval. Imported goods must meet TGA’s stringent standards before going to market, meaning that the vast majority of Australia’s supplements are produced domestically. A few U.S. brands have made headway down under, including Metagenics, Garden of Life and Nordic Naturals.


  • Sports Nutrition represents a huge opportunity for the Australian market, with plenty of room to grow. TGA can be an obstacle here, but sports—like cricket, rugby, surfing, swimming and tennis—are enormously popular and worth exploring.


  • Popular new supplements cycle through the Australian market about two years behind U.S. trends. Current breadwinners include glucosamine (which comes powdered in large tubs) and fish oil.


NBJ will take a closer look at the Australian nutrition industry—replete with market data, supplement trends and regulatory details—at the end of the year with its November/December Global Nutrition Industry double issue. Stay tuned.

Also be sure to check out NBJ's 2010 Global Nutrition Industry Report for global market data and trends.

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