Food and Beverage

Trends and opportunities

The market

Bangladesh’s expanding consumer class and growing number of hotels, restaurants and cafes have opened up opportunities for Australian processed food and beverage suppliers.

With a GDP of A$330 billion that is growing at 6 per cent per annum, Bangladesh is aiming to be a middle-income country by 2021, the 50th anniversary of its foundation. The country’s median age of 26 years and a growing consumer class of 20 million underpin its potential as an export market for high-quality food and beverages.

Opportunities

Australia is the major supplier of dairy products to Bangladesh, including milk powder, cheese, cream and butter, and the demand is growing steadily. Australia is the second largest supplier of fresh juices after Thailand, and there is sufficient growth to support new entrants in both these segments.

India is the major supplier of breakfast cereals to Bangladesh, followed by Australia, the US and Europe. Australian muesli and other breakfast cereals are increasingly in demand and lead this product category in the market. Australian confectionery, honey, jam, jelly and packed food products also enjoy good demand.

Consumers in Bangladesh are familiar with imported food products and Australia is viewed as a source of quality and healthy food.

There are major opportunities for Australian food and beverage producers to enter the market by supplying the growing number of supermarkets, five-star hotels, resorts and restaurants. Products in demand include:

  • quality Australian meat, food and beverages
  • breakfast cereals, savoury snacks, honey, jam, juices, cheese, butter, fresh fruit and vegetables, and natural and free-from/healthy food products.

There are niche opportunities to export high-value products to Dhaka and Chittagong – Bangladesh’s two largest cities – particularly processed food products and fresh fruit.

There are also opportunities to enter into joint ventures with local food companies to process and produce Australian food brands. In addition, Australian companies can consider establishing food franchises; Gloria Jeans Coffee has been operational in Bangladesh since 2012.

Retail outlets

Modern organised food retailing constitutes about 8 per cent of Bangladesh’s estimated US$16 billion food retailing sector and is estimated to be growing at 15 per cent each year. Overall retailing is growing about 15 per cent per year due to both economic growth and urbanisation.

Supermarkets are recent additions to the retail sector in Bangladesh. According to the Bangladesh Supermarket Owners’ Association, sales via modern retail outlets are predicted to grow four-fold by 2020 to approximately US$37 billion.[1]

The success of the supermarket format has attracted significant investor interest, and new outlets are setting up. There are approximately 200-plus supermarkets in Bangladesh, concentrated in Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet.

Recent Australian supermarket promotions have demonstrated consumers’ appetite for a wide range of products.

Hotels, restaurants and cafes

Bangladesh’s growing middle class has spurred demand in the hotel, restaurant and café (HORECA) for packaged food and beverages.

Bangladesh has 12 international chains of four- and five-star hotels. According to industry sources, an additional 15 international hotel chains are expected to commence operations in Bangladesh by 2022. These include Holiday Inn, JW Marriott, Swiss Hotel, Hyatt Regency, Element Hotel, Hilton and Dusit Hotel.

Food and beverage is a major revenue driver for hospitality and hotel chains. Austrade partners with international hotels to promote Australian meat, seafood, dairy and other food items that feature on their restaurant menus through food festivals, tasting sessions and events.

The growth of international hotel chains in Bangladesh has created demand for Australian meat, salmon, cheese and bakery products. Existing international hotel chains are already importing meat and other food products from Australia to cater for their high-end customers. With the expansion of new international hotels in Dhaka and Chittagong, there will be further demand for Australian meat, seafood and dairy.

Franchises

Bangladesh has significant growth potential for international food franchises. Burger King, KFC, Krispy Kreme, Nandos and Pizza Hut have chains across the country. Australia’s Gloria Jeans Coffee operates its second largest outlet in the world in Dhaka.

Bangladeshi companies continue to show strong interest in opening food franchises. There are no regulations barring franchise operations and growing access to global supply chains has improved product quality and reliability. Many Australian food brands are known to consumers so any food franchise from Australia would be well received.

Tariffs, Regulations and Customs

Bangladesh import policy places rules, regulations and controls on the import of products. Some product restrictions are applied by government organisations, which include:

  • banned list
  • restricted list
  • freely importable items (imports falling outside the above lists could be imported either freely or by fulfilling specified conditions)
  • certification requirements for all food products.

See the links below for more information on importing, policies, procedures and tariffs:

Market Entry

Austrade organises food promotions with mainstream local supermarkets and international five-star hotels every year under the Australia Unlimited and Taste of Australia branding. Austrade is well placed to support Australian companies to promote their products at such events in Bangladesh. Austrade can also connect Australian companies with local importers of premium food products and key importers and buyers of agricultural commodities.

Industry Associations

Please note: This list of websites and resources is not definitive. Inclusion in this list does not imply endorsement by Austrade. The information provided is a guide only. The content is for information and carries no warranty; as such, the addressee must exercise their own discretion in its use. Australia’s anti-bribery laws apply overseas and Austrade will not provide business related services to any party who breaches the law and will report credible evidence of any breach. For further information, please see foreign bribery information and awareness pack.

Contact details

The Australian Trade and Investment Commission – Austrade – contributes to Australia's economic prosperity by helping Australian businesses, education institutions, tourism operators, governments and citizens as they:

  • develop international markets
  • win productive foreign direct investment
  • promote international education
  • strengthen Australia's tourism industry
  • seek consular and passport services.

Working in partnership with Australian state and territory governments, Austrade provides information and advice that can help Australian companies reduce the time, cost and risk of exporting. We also administer the Export Market Development Grant Scheme and offer a range of services to Australian exporters in growth and emerging markets.