December 2023 local Aussie food wrap

1st January 2024 | EATIVITY Editors

Making local Aussie food news in December.

Christmas highlights the country’s food waste problem, 2024 food trends to watch out for, and cultivated meat gets the go ahead in Australia. Wild weather hits fresh produce growers, a new Aussie olive oil campaign launches, foodie events for the new year get announced and hot cross buns officially hit the shelves.

Fresh off the press…

Christmas has highlighted Australia’s food waste problem which is now an endemic issue. A total of 7.3 million tonnes of food are wasted per year, which has significant environmental consequences and costs families up to $4,000 annually. RMIT University Research Fellow Dr. Bhavna Middha says we can all start to improve our contribution to food waste by stopping over-catering, limiting bulk buying and better understanding food longevity.  

Two advocacy groups Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre and Stop Food Waste Australia have joined forces to convince regulators and supermarkets to scrap use-by dates on packaging. They claim the dates cost Australian households thousands of dollars a year because it encourages consumers to throw away good food. The new advocacy group, End Food Waste Australia is hoping to halve food waste by 2030.

There are many ways to help you minimise waste and have a more conscious Christmas.

Trends to watch out for in 2024, according to Naturally Good include functional foods and drinks that boost brain performance and new trendy fruits like Haskap Berries. Peaches are expected to have a resurgence and hydration products that support regenerative farming practices will be in focus. Consumers will continue to demand authentic, high-quality products that offer value for money, and alternative proteins will continue to grow. 

Cultivated meat approval has progressed to the next stage. The public has until the end of January to provide input into the innovative. It follows Vow Foods’ application to Food Standards Australia New Zealand, FSANZ, to evaluate its cultured quail as a food ingredient, earlier last year. Now after months of safety investigations, the regulator has concluded that it is safe to eat. FSANZ is now sharing its findings as part of the public consultation process, giving the public its landmark opportunity to provide feedback. Globally, Singapore led the way in 2020 by becoming the first country to approve a cultivated meat product, with the US following as the second in June 2023. Australia and New Zealand have four companies working in the cultivated meat ecosystem.

Also making local Aussie food news in December, National Pies has kicked off its Hottest Pie Hundred Competition featuring a playlist of 100 songs all about pies and the chance to win 100 National Pies and 100 Tassie Beers. Participants can enter the competition via the National Pies Instagram or Facebook pages where a link will be provided to vote for their favourite pie song. The competition winner as well as the most popular pie song and artist will be announced on Jan 23rd when National Pies will be celebrating National Pie Day. 

And Back by popular demand and ready to spice up the holiday season, Coles’ award-winning hot cross buns have already officially hit supermarket shelves nationwide. We kid you not!

Coles says its award-winning hot cross buns have long been a cherished part of its post-Christmas offering.

From the farm gate…

Producers across the country have been hit hard by wild weather, rain and flooding with crops destroyed and roads cut off. Queensland mango and Tasmanian cherry growers are among some of the worst impacted. Meantime, Hort Innovation chief executive officer Brett Fifield says fresh produce purchased during the festive season is in line with previous trends. In December each year, Aussies typically spend just over $1 billion on the fresh produce category, compared to an average of $882 million each month for the rest of the year.

Also making local Aussie food news, The Australian Olive Oil Association (AOOA)has launched a new 3-year marketing campaign to encourage Australians to ‘Get Drizzling’. The Association worked with three of Australia’s leading tastemakers; chef Khanh Ong, food-loving mum Leah Itsines and recipe creator Lucy Rosenberg. Each created several recipes for the campaign, and all the dishes are finished with a generous drizzle of olive oil.

A new 3-year marketing campaign to encourage Australians to ‘Get Drizzling’ has launched.

What’s on…

An annual, weekend-long event that celebrates the producers of North West Tasmania, TrailGraze is set to return for the third year running from April 19th-21st . Presented by Tasmania’s Tasting Trail, the event promises to be bigger and better than ever, expanding to host a one-off dinner on Friday April 19th. This exciting event will feature esteemed TrailGraze ambassadors from the 2023 program, including Chefs Palisa Anderson (Chat Thai) and Lilly Trewartha (Izakaya Temporary) and acclaimed beverage expert and journalist, Mike Bennie. The trio will team up to create a menu that showcases drinks and ingredients from the trail.

The 11th edition of Wine & Cheese Fest has been announced and it will be held at Melbourne’s The Timber Yard on Sunday March 3rd. The event sees around 50 artisan producers of cheese and wine come together and there are free tastings and masterclasses, and the opportunity to speak to each boutique producer. Included in the list of the finest producers and providores exhibiting their goods is That’s Amore Cheese, BoatShed Cheese, Schulz Organic Dairy, Long Paddock Cheese & The Cheese School, L’Artisan Cheese.

CREDIT: Jasper De Seymour – Meander Valley Vineyard.

What’s new…

Also making local Aussie food news in December, Grill’d’s 172nd restaurant has opened in Byron Bay, with most of its beef burgers featuring the revolutionary ‘Gamechanger beef’ that reduces methane emissions by up to two-thirds. Gamechanger beef is produced by feeding cattle a small amount of naturally sourced seaweed (Asparagopsis – native to Tasmania), which Sea Forest discovered could massively reduce methane in cow burps by over 67 percent.

Also in local Aussie food this month…

In December EATIVITY revealed whether superfoods really support your health, we highlighted a major food security issue in produce snobbery, and met the Aussie mum pushing no-sugar snacks. We also shared some berry impressive strawberry hacks and tips and profiled a small town coffee roaster who is kicking goals on the world stage.

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