Food news to sink your teeth into

23rd April 2022 | Eativity editors
Australian food news

This week in food news, the banana gets its own Spotify playlist, seven Aussie restaurants win worldwide acclaim and a super-sweet variety of a popular fruit hits our supermarkets. Plus, Matt Moran’s Chiswick Woollahra plans a month-long 10th birthday bash and Foodbank Victoria takes food relief down a whole new route. Making slightly less cheering news, South Australian researchers find a sneaky substance is making its way into our food chain, and another virus is wreaking havoc with our food producers.

Make your body sing

For those of you who love to sing, you’ll know that bananas can make for a great bespoke microphone. Ahead of National Banana Day on May 1, Australian Bananas has released a special Spotify playlist to help banana-loving Aussies hit the ripe note. The Karaoke Banana playlist features songs that give a nod to the banana, from the band Bananarama and Harry Belafonte’s iconic Banana Boat Song to Gwen Stefani’s “B-A-N-A-N-A-S” anthem Hollaback Girl. The playlist also includes a remixed version of the iconic Australian Bananas’ “Make Your Body Sing” jingle, which first launched in 1994.

Australian food news: new super-sweet strawberry variety released
Could strawberries get any sweeter? Apparently, yes.

Super-sweet strawbs to hit stores

Costa Berries Tasmania in partnership with Driscoll’s Australia is undertaking a commercial trial of a new super-sweet strawberry variety. The Zara variety has been in production since the start of the berry season. Marketed as “Driscoll’s Sweetest Batch”, the strawberry is a premium variety that delivers a sweeter and stronger flavour. First commercialised in the United Kingdom in 2017, it has since won several international awards due to its taste and quality. Limited quantities of Sweetest Batch strawberries can be found at Woolworths supermarkets in larger urban centres in Hobart and Launceston. They’re also being sold interstate through a small number of Coles and Woolworths stores in Victoria.

Australian food news: Australia's Oyster Coast 2022 Sydney Rock Oyster Champion
An award-winning oyster: the Merimbula Bistro Appellation Oyster.

South coast oysters win big

The Royal Agricultural Society of New South Wales has named Australia’s Oyster Coast the 2022 Sydney Rock Oyster Champion at the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show. This national competition sets the benchmark for Australia’s fine food producers. The NSW south coast oyster business won the prestigious Champion Sydney Rock Oyster trophy for its Merimbula Bistro Appellation Oysters, as well as multiple medals. Sydney Royal Chair of Judges John Susma said that being able to produce oysters of such quality after a year of challenging growing conditions was “a testament to the business”. Well done, guys!

Victorian farmers Millie Ritchie, Toby Humphrey and Mark Ritchie supply Coles with low-emission beef.

Coles launches carbon neutral beef

Coles has become the first major Australian supermarket to launch a certified own brand carbon-neutral beef product. Coles Finest Certified Carbon Neutral Beef is now available in Victorian stores with a national rollout over the next 12 months. It’s certified carbon neutral to the Australian Government’s Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard. However, the farms the meat is sourced from aren’t necessarily carbon neutral. Instead, Coles has purchased carbon credits to offset emissions from the production of the meat.

Foodbank Victoria's food relief bus, "Dorothy
Super long and bendy, Dorothy will be bringing food relief to Melbourne communities.

Meet Dorothy

Foodbank Victoria (FBV) in collaboration with Kinetic (operators of SkyBus) has developed “Dorothy”, a bespoke mobile supermarket bus that can transport fresh produce, pantry items, chilled products and frozen food to communities in need. The bus will simply pull up at a location and open its door to the community to enter and collect fresh food for free. The mobility of the bus will allow FBV to link into many different locations across Metro Melbourne, providing an opportunity to reach more varied communities at a local level.

Australian food news: microplastics found in SA blue mussels
Mussels are filter feeders, and so are exposed to plastic waste in our oceans.

Microplastics in our food chain

In slightly scary news, Flinders University researchers have found broken-down microplastics in blue mussels in South Australia. The researchers warn that this means microplastics are now finding their way into human food supplies. This includes wild-caught and ocean-farmed fish and seafood sourced from the once pristine Southern Ocean and gulf waters of South Australia. “Our findings shed light on the urgent need to prevent microplastic pollution by working with communities, industries and government to protect these fragile marine systems,” says Professor Karen Burke da Silva, senior study author.

Australian food news:  Japanese encephalitis affects pork supply
Some affected sites are seeing heavy losses.

Pork supply set to plunge

More meat shortages are on the cards, with at least 30 NSW piggeries affected by Japanese encephalitis. The virus has also been confirmed in pigs in Victoria, South Australia and Queensland. Of the NSW sites affected, it has led to production losses of up to 80 percent. It’s also having an impact on farmers mental health, as the virus causes stillborn piglets and birth abnormalities. But before you start avoiding bacon, fear not – Japanese encephalitis is spread by mosquito bite; you can’t catch it by eating pork.

Pink Fun Bun and friends
This year, Bakers Delight pink buns have some plush new friends.

Fun Bun and friends

Bakers Delight bakeries across the country will once again be baking up Pink Fun Buns to support Australians affected by breast cancer. From April 28 to May 18, 100 percent of the sales from every Fun Bun or Fun Bun six-pack sold during the Pink Bun campaign goes to Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA). This year, the buns are joined by Fun Bun Friends Alvie, Flossy and Queenie. All proceeds from the toys will also be donated to the BCNA.

Australian food news: Firedoor named third best steak restaurant in the world
Firedoor uses no gas or electricity, instead using wood-fired ovens, hearths and grills.

Aussie steak houses among world’s best

Sydney’s Firedoor has been named as the world’s third-best steak restaurant in the World’s 101 Best Steak Restaurants for 2022. But this wasn’t the only Australian restaurant to make the cut. Just missing out on the top 10 was Rockpool Bar and Grill, which came in at number 12. Not far behind at number 17 was Matt Moran’s Chophouse. Also in Sydney, Kingsleys made number 34 on the list. Melbourne’s Butcher & Vine scored the 77th spot; Macelleria came in at 90. Also scraping into the top 101 was Melbourne’s Entrecote.

Australian food news: Chiswick turns 10
Matt Moran and chef Taylor Cullen have created a special birthday menu.

Chiswick turns 10

Also in restaurant news, Matt Moran’s Chiswick Woollahra will be celebrating 10 years in May. To mark the occasion, the restaurant will offer a special birthday menu, as well as a digital recipe book and special Providoor box that will let home cooks recreate the Chiswick experience at home. With one of Sydney’s only restaurant kitchen gardens, Chiswick has remained at the forefront of Sydney’s planted-to-plated dining scene for the past decade. In creating the birthday menu, Moran and head chef Taylor Cullen have utilised produce grown onsite, as well as from some of the best local suppliers, to create a menu that pays tribute to signature dishes from the past decade while looking ahead to the next 10 years.

support banana growers
Show our growers some love: grab a #nana4afarmer.

Also making food news this week…

We started with the week with a public holiday, so we decided to make your Easter Monday more delicious by sharing the best chocolate and cheese pairings. Back in business on Tuesday, we urged Aussie consumers to support our growers and buy a #nana4afarmer. Wednesday saw us exploring the worrying issue of food price rises, plus we shared some tips on how you can shop smarter. Thursday was burrito day at Eativity HQ, as we cooked up some tasty burritos with a decidedly Aussie twist. Finally, on Friday, we profiled Gippsland Jersey, a Victorian dairy brand making milk fair for everyone.

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