Wendy Umberger

Professor Wendy Umberger

Executive Director CGFAR

School of Economics and Public Policy

Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics

Professor Wendy Umberger is the Executive Director of the Centre for Global Food & Resources at the University of Adelaide. The program was officially launched in 2013 and focuses on economic issues affecting global food and agricultural value chains.
Wendy is currently leading components of interdisciplinary value chain research projects in Asia, Australia, North America, the Pacific Islands and South Africa exploring opportunities for agricultural smallholder households in producing high value (horticulture, dairy, beef) food products and adopting new technology to gain access to modern food value chains. Part of this work includes estimating consumer demand for specific credence (quality, safety and health) attributes in food and determining efficient governance systems to verify related attributes. She is also studying the impact of urbanization, modern retail transformation and development programs on food consumption patterns, diet quality and longer-run health and livelihood implications in Indonesia and Fiji.

Wendy’s research uses innovative methods to understand drivers of consumer and producer behaviour and the implications of changing behaviour for global food systems. This includes research to understand how individual and household characteristics such as demographics, socio-economics, attitudes, values and knowledge, affect future food demand and supply shifts, diet transformation and related health changes, and drive adoption and uptake of technology, both at the food production and consumption stages. This information is particularly helpful for translation of research and design of more efficient food policy programs.

Professor Umberger has published extensively and has been invited to present her work internationally to a variety of audiences including industry, government and academic. Wendy received her B.S. in Animal Science (1996) and M.S. in Economics (1998) from South Dakota State University and her PhD in Agricultural Economics (2001) from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Prior to joining the University of Adelaide in 2006, Wendy was an Assistant and Associate Professor from 2001-2007 in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at Colorado State University in the USA. She was raised on a beef cattle farm, which is still owned and operated by her family in South Dakota USA.

Current Research Focus and Interests

  • Consumer behaviour related to food purchases, nutrition and health
  • Food security, including economics of food safety
  • Diet and nutrition transition in less developed and developing countries
  • Producer behaviour and drivers of technology adoption
  • Food policy
  • Translation of research for policy and industry


  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2016 - ongoing Executive Director and Professor, June 2016 to present University of Adelaide
    2016 - ongoing Professor University of Adelaide
    2013 - 2016 Director and Professor Global Food Studies University of Adelaide
    2012 - 2015 Associate Professor University of Adelaide
    2009 - 2011 Senior Lecturer University of Adelaide
    2006 - 2008 Lecturer University of Adelaide
    2006 - 2007 Associate Professor Colorado State University
    2001 - 2006 Assistant Professor Colorado State University
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2006 - 2008 South Dakota State University United States Master of Science in Economics (MSc)
    1998 - 2015 University of Nebraska–Lincoln United States PHD
    1992 - 1996 South Dakota State University United States Bachelors of Science in Animal Science (BSc)
  • Postgraduate Training

    Date Title Institution Country
    1998 - 2001 Doctor of Philosophy University of Nebraska–Lincoln United States
  • Research Interests

Research Funding


  • (2013-2016). “Getting to the meat of the matter: social and economic issues in animal welfare in Australia’s livestock industry” W.J. Umberger & R. Ankeney, $287,607 LP130100419 Australian Research Council Linkage Grant (ARC-Linkage).
  • (2013-2015) “Grass-fed markets and value chains for small-scale and emerging beef cattle farmers in South Africa” G. Griffith, R. Cooksey, N. Nengovhela, D. Baker, J. Mamabolo and W.J. Umberger, W.J. $1.15 million LPS/205/128 Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.
  • (2011-2015) “Foods for Future Australians” NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence, Makrides M, Gibson RA, Ryan P, Zhou SJ, Dodd J, McPhee AJ, Umberger WJ, Muhlhausler B, Collins CT, Penttila I., $2.15 million APP1035530 National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
  • (2010-2013). “Pacific Agribusiness Research for Development Initiative (PARDI)” W.J. Umberger, & Stringer, R. $2.1 million PC/2008/044 Australian Centre for Agricultural Research (ACIAR).  
  • (2009-2012) “Economic Evaluation of the Seafood CRC.” W.J. Umberger, & Stringer, R..  Seafood CRC Project Number LS009, $300,000.
  • (2010-2011) “Consumer and Market Demand Research Network: A Look Behind the Curtain of Best Practice Value Chain Development: The Example of Meat Standards Australia.” Agricultural and Agri-food Canada. Co-PI. PI: S. Anders. $12,680, 
  • (2009). “Beef Consumer Segmentation Research To Build Supply Chain Capability.” $47,500 from Meat and Livestock Australia, Innovation Partners Program (competitive) 09MLA_P.PSH.0427.
  • (2009-2010) “International Beef Value Chain Research Network.” Alberta Livestock Industry Development Fund. Co-PI with PI: S. Anders. $15,000.
  • (2008-2010) “Markets for high-value commodities in Indonesia: Promoting competitiveness and inclusiveness.” R. Stringer, N. Minot, T. Reardon and W.J. Umberger Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) project ADP/2005/066. $1.543 million.
  • (2008-2009). “Examination of Consumers Perceptions of Various Wine Product and Health Related Labelling Policies.” $20,000 from the Winemakers Federation of Australia (project to begin in April 2008). Also $10,000 from University of Adelaide Faculty of Sciences Strategic Initiative Funds (competitive), 
  • (2007- 2008). “Determining Retailer and Wholesaler Demand and Market Potential for Regionally-Grown Beef in South Australia.” $9967.50 from Primary Industries and Resources South Australia.  
  • (2007-2010) Linking vegetable farmers with markets in West and Central Java, Indonesia.”  Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). International Potato Centre is the Principal Investigator. Collaborating Researcher. Funded February 2008. 
  • (2008) “Sustainable Value Chain Analysis – A Case Study of South Australian Wine” Collaborating researcher, $450,000 from Primary Industry and Resources South Australia. (UA share was $10,000). 
  • (2007-2009) “Promoting diverse fuelwood production systems in PNG.” Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). Principal Investigator: Ian Nuberg. Collaborating Researcher. February 2008. 
  • (2006-2007) “Assessing the Impact of The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) On Beef, Pork And Lamb Harvesting And Rendering Facilities In The US.”, Colorado Dept. Ag., USDA-APHIS. PI: G.C. Smith. Co-PIs: J.D. Tatum, J.A. Scanga, K.E. Belk, J.N. Sofos, W.J. Umberger, T.G. Field, W.R. Wailes, and S.B. LeValley. Grant Amount: $394,426. Funded October, 2006.
  • (2005-2007), “Market Analysis of Forage Finished Beef In the Southeast.” Funded by the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP). Principal Investigators: R.C. Lacy and W.J. Umberger. $76,273.00. July 2005.
  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2021 Co-Supervisor Understanding and supporting the Australian dairy sector in the adoption of sustainable food loss and waste management practices Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Jack Benjamin Hetherington
    2020 Co-Supervisor Understanding drivers of consumer food purchasing behaviour in Laos Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Chitpasong Kousonsavath
    2020 Co-Supervisor Essays in Wine Economics Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr German Puga
    2019 Co-Supervisor Investigating Food Loss and Waste Reduction in the Food Supply Chain in Asia-Pacific Region Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Trang Thi Thu Nguyen
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2017 - 2021 Principal Supervisor Adoption of Multiple Dairy Farming Technologies – Issues and Opportunities for Smallholder Dairy Farmers in West Java, Indonesia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Rida Akzar
    2017 - 2021 Principal Supervisor Exploring Relationships between Changing Food Environments, Food Consumption Behaviour, Attitudes and Nutrition Outcomes for Urban Vietnam Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Anh Duc Nguyen
    2017 - 2021 Principal Supervisor Consumer perceptions and intentions towards sustainable meat consumption and lab-grown meat in Australia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Livia Garcez de Oliveira Padilha
    2015 - 2019 Principal Supervisor Analysing the Drivers of Dietary Diversity, Diet Quality and Household Food Security in Developing Asia: Evidence from Urban Vietnam and Rural Bangladesh Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Jesmin Ara Rupa
    2014 - 2019 Principal Supervisor The Effect of Smallholder Vegetable Production on Children's Dietary Quality and Nutritional Outcomes: Evidence from Vietnam Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Christian ll Genova
    2014 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Eliciting Farmer Preferences for Rice Varietal Trait Improvements Using an Experimental Methodology Based on Investment Games Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Rio Lawas Maligalig
    2013 - 2015 Principal Supervisor A Study of the Relationship between Modern Food Retail Penetration and Urban Indonesian Consumers’ Food Shopping Behaviour, Consumption and Dietary Patterns Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Hery Toiba
    2013 - 2017 Principal Supervisor The Potential for Innovative Farm Business Structures in the Australian Grains Sector Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Brendan Charles Clarkin Lynch
    2013 - 2019 Principal Supervisor Food System Transformation in Fiji: Exploring the Determinants of Diet Quality and Health Outcomes in Rural and Urban Households Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Miss Anna Vicki Finizio
    2013 - 2016 Principal Supervisor Adoption of High Value Horticultural Crops in Indonesia: Determinants and Impacts Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr . Suprehatin
    2013 - 2015 Principal Supervisor The Impact of Customary Inter-Household Transfers on Labour-led Cash Crop Intensification among the Smallholder Farmers of Malekular Island, Vanuatu Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Tim Martyn
    2013 - 2015 Principal Supervisor Food System Transformation in Indonesia: Factors Influencing Demand and Supply for Alternative Pest Management Farming Systems Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs . Wahida
    2013 - 2016 Co-Supervisor Essays on the Economic Impacts of Climate Change on Agriculture and Adaptation Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Kaixing Huang
    2011 - 2015 Co-Supervisor Exploring the nutrition knowledge, attitudes and practices of pregnant women in Australia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Lenka Malek
    2008 - 2012 Co-Supervisor Buyer and Seller Relationships in Malaysia's Dairy Industry Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Bonaventure Boniface
    2008 - 2013 Co-Supervisor Contracts and Marketing Decisions of Indonesian Potato Growers Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Eka Puspitawati
    2008 - 2012 Co-Supervisor The Transformation of Modern Food Retailers in Indonesia: Opportunities and Challenges for Smallholder Farmers Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs . Sahara
  • Position: Executive Director CGFAR
  • Phone: 83137263
  • Email: wendy.umberger@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Nexus 10, floor 6
  • Org Unit: Centre for Global Food and Resources

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