Telling Tales of Aussie Beef in China

Consumers in China are looking for confidence in the food they buy and a connection to the communities that produced it.
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Australian beef has a global reputation for quality, safety, animal welfare and environmental management. With a surge in demand in international markets like China, diners and shoppers are looking for confidence in the food they buy, and a connection to the communities that produced it.

That’s why QUT researchers and BeefLedger are leading an exciting Food Agility CRC project to create digital stories about Australian farmers and agriculture than can be shared with Chinese diners and shoppers. The storytellers? Mount Gambier High School students knowns as ‘Beef Legends’.

“We’re working with Mt Gambier High School students over the next six months, teaching them data visualisation and helping them create digital content that tells their local food stories,’ says BeefLedger CEO Warwick Powell.

“When Chinese consumers and suppliers scan the packaging, not only will they see the data to prove their steak is 100% Aussie, they’ll hear the rich stories of beef production in the Mt Gambier region.”

The Beef Legends project is part of a larger Blockchain in Beef Exports Food Agility initiative led by QUT and BeefLedger. The team is using new digital technologies to track beef from paddock to plate in a bid to stamp out ‘fake steak’ in international export markets and to value-add through data.

Students from Mount Gambier High School interview visiting chefs from the Changshu Culinary Association.

In May 2019, Food Agility visited the Beef Legends in Mount Gambier, South Australia, as they met with a delegation of chefs from the Changshu Culinary Association. The students had the opportunity to interview the visiting chefs about food fraud, quality meat, and the value of ‘cultural and provenance data’.

Food Agility HDR Jock McQueenie with students from Mount Gambier High School

Warwick Powell sees an exciting opportunity for Australia to export both our produce and our local stories to a highly engaged overseas market. “Increasingly, consumers [in China] will be seeking richer stories about what they are eating. In the early days the main concern was confidence in the company of origin, but as people develop a more sophisticated palette and a more granular appreciation of food from different regions, then they will start to seek more information about what it is, where it came from, and who did it.”  

The Beef Legends project was designed by Food Agility Scholarship Holder Jock McQueeny. “In many scientific and commercial projects there is a tendency for something like an evangelism to take over that is all about technology and forgets about community. In this project, we have designed for mutual benefit. My job is to join the dots between the community, the commercial, and the cultural aspects.”

Watch our Beef Legends video to find out more about the community benefits, meet one of Mount Gambier’s premier beef producers, and watch the Beef Legends in action.

Find out more about our BeefLedger Export Smart Contracts Project.

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