Latest updates in Australian food

23rd October 2021 | Eativity editors

We already knew that Aussie peanut farmers were legends when it came to growing fresh nuts (or technically, legumes). But did you know they can also rock a mean power ballad? Yup. A bunch of peanut farmers have released a song about peanuts, and it’s a cracker. Also making headlines this week, the national winner of the 2020 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award has finally been announced, after COVID led to the award being postponed last year. In other news, there’s an awful lot going on in the sustainability space. And much of it has to do with reducing food waste. We also offer some expert tips on how to save money at the supermarket. With expected food shortages and price hikes on the way, this will no doubt come in very handy. Read on below to get all the latest updates in Australian food.

Latest updates in Australian food: Cara Peek wins National Rural Women's Award
Peek was recognised for her dedication to fostering access and opportunity for rural and remote communities.

Rural Women’s Award national winner announced

Broome-based lawyer, social innovator and co-founder of Saltwater Country, Cara Peek has been named the 2020 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award National Winner. Peek was recognised for her work in driving employment opportunities for First Nations people in remote Australia. Cressida Cains, artisan cheesemaker and a passionate dairy industry advocate from NSW was announced as the award’s National Runner-Up. Due to COVID, the national award ceremony was postponed last year. Instead, the 2020 national winner was announced on Wednesday at a special ceremony offering live coverage via video link.

The peanut gets its own power ballad

Australian peanut farmers and Bega’s Simply Nuts have released a tongue-in-cheek power ballad about peanuts. And it’s more than just a song. There’s a music video, too. “We’re Simply Nuts (For Aussie Peanuts)” was created to raise awareness of Aussie peanuts and to celebrate the hard work of peanut farmers. The video stars real peanut farmers from across Queensland who have a message for the nation – they’re nuts about Aussie peanuts. Featured farmers include Mark Rackemann, a third-generation Queensland peanut farmer. He says: “I’ve been growing peanuts my entire life. This song is just what the Australian peanut industry needs to promote Australian farmers. We need this now more than ever.”

Why do peanut farmers need our support? Currently, two thirds of the peanuts consumed here in Australia are imported. Bega is working with Aussie peanut farmers to grow the size of our peanut industry. Simply Nuts is proudly made using 100 percent Australian peanuts.

Latest updates in Australian food: bumper winter harvest forecast
Australia’s wheat production is expected to come in at 31.9 million tonnes.

A golden outlook for a golden year

Australia is set for a second consecutive bumper winter harvest. Total production is forecast to come in just five percent shy of last year’s near-record crop, according to Rabobank. In its just-released Australian winter crop 2021/22 forecast, the specialist agribusiness bank estimates the nation will harvest 52.87 million tonnes of winter grains, oilseeds and pulses this season. While down five percent on last year’s crop, this is still a hefty 25 percent above the five-year average. Rabobank agriculture analyst Dennis Voznesenski says this second consecutive very large winter crop “comes at an opportune time for local growers”, with global shortages and high prices for grains and oilseeds.

Latest updates in Australian food: supply chain worries due to staff shortages
Those supermarket shelves won’t stock themselves.

Workers needed to keep supply chains going

Australia’s food and grocery manufacturing industry is working around the clock. Aussies in nearly every corner of the country are needed to turn up to work to ensure supply. The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) has said that as cases increase, the existing COVID rules will not work for the industry. With shifts of people being told to stay home to quarantine, having been deemed a close or casual contact, food and grocery supplies will be increasingly disrupted. The same volumes of products can’t be made or distributed to supermarkets and through other channels with so many workers at home.

AFGC CEO Tanya Barden says that industry is currently keeping up supply. But is very concerned about the coming months once community COVID transmission increases. The next few months is when the industry normally builds stock ahead of Christmas. If staff can’t attend work, there could be an impact, especially on products with a short shelf life.

Bin chickens
Please don’t feed the bin chickens: a new food waste pact could spell trouble for the ibis.

Australian pact to fight food waste

Stop Food Waste Australia has launched the Australian Food Pact, which brings together organisations in collaboration to make our food system more sustainable, resilient and circular. Rather than being a regulation, the Australian Food Pact is a voluntary agreement that follows a proven international way of reducing food waste. It focuses on prevention, re-use (donation) and food chain transformation and innovation. The Australian Food Pact will feature organisations from “farm to fork” from across the Australian food industry. It covers primary production, processing and manufacturing as well as wholesale, retail, hospitality, institutions and households. Stop Food Waste Australia will work with these organisations to help them achieve their food waste goals.

Harris Farm Re-Purposeful Picks
Day-old sourdough can be used to make breadcrumbs for schnitzel.

Food, repurposed

Speaking of waste reduction, Harris Farm Markets has launched Re-Purposeful Picks, a product range made from upcycling perishable food items into premium products with a longer shelf life. Perfectly good unsold bananas will become smoothies. Yesterday’s sourdough will become breadcrumbs for schnitzel. Today’s unsold veg will be turned into tomorrow’s salsa, garlic bread or pizza topping. The aim is to help reduce the amount of food wasted in Australia, which currently clocks in at 7.3 million tonnes. Every year.

Buy "ugly" fruit and veg to save money
Opt for “ugly” fruit and veg and save a bundle.

Choice’s top tips for supermarket savings

Consumer advocacy group Choice has released its top tips for savings in the supermarket, based on years of research and reviews. According to Choice Editor, Marg Rafferty, these tips and tricks could potentially save you hundreds of dollars on your grocery bills if you incorporate them into your regular shopping routine.

1. Avoid pre-prepared fruit and vegies if possible
They might be more convenient, but they’re also more expensive.

2. Check out the cheapest supermarket in your area
Choice compared grocery prices at 120 supermarkets across Australia. According to the survey, Aldi is the cheapest place to pick up your groceries.

3. Swap your favourite brand for a cheaper alternative
House brands are typically much cheaper than branded products, and they’ve also dramatically improved in quality. See which house brand products taste best here.

4. Buy “ugly” produce
Imperfect produce is a great way to save money. Woolworths has The Odd Bunch, Coles has I’m Perfect and Harris Farm has Imperfect Picks.

5. Swap out-of-season fresh produce buys for frozen
Buying in-season produce is the best way to ensure you’re getting the best value for money. If you want fruit or veg that are out of season, opt for frozen. They’ll be much cheaper.

You can read the full list of tips and tricks here.

FUNDAY natural sweets
Snacking has increased since COVID, and people are looking for sugar-free options.

Aussie confectionery start-up hits sweet spot

The global confectionery market is estimated to hit US$227 billion by 2027. And “better for you” confectionery is driving this upwards trend. When Aussie entrepreneur Daniel Kitay launched FUNDAY Natural Sweets in March 2021, he had no idea we had a long lockdown ahead. However, the timing was perfect for his “clean confectionery” company. FUNDAY creates nostalgic, sugar-free lollies, including a version of Australia’s iconic red frogs. Just four months after launch, FUNDAY signed a deal with Woolworths (something many brands take years to achieve). It also scored national listings in Chemist Warehouse Australia and a recent listing in NZ. The company has also expanded into Singapore and Hong Kong and is currently in discussions to launch into the US and Europe. Online sales have also soared, doubling month to month, thanks to a fanbase of loyal repeat customers.

Fairy Bread Day
Who doesn’t love fairy bread? This November, there’s never been a better excuse to indulge.

ReachOut for sprinkles

Fairy Bread Day is back in 2021, sprinkled over a week of fun-loving fundraising. People are encouraged to whip out the 100s and 1000s on November 24 to help raise funds for youth mental health organisation, ReachOut Australia. Last year saw Australian family-owned company Dollar Sweets take the reins from Fairy Bread Day founder Adam Schell to bring the event to the next level. Aussies across the nation unified over the treat, raising a total of almost $31,000. This was both from public gratuity and from Dollar Sweets’ sales. Funds raised support youth in need through ReachOut’s essential mental health services. There have already been more than 10,000 responses on the event page in the lead up the day. So sprinkle some kindness this November to help pave a better future for our youth.

You can find out more, including how to get involved, at

Weet-Bix now 100% recyclable
Sanitarium is aiming to make 100% of packaging across its product portfolio reusable, recyclable or compostable.

Weet-Bix now 100% recyclable

Sanitarium is dialling up its sustainability by educating millions of Aussie households how to recycle 100 percent of Weet-Bix packaging. From this month, Weet-Bix boxes will include the Australasian Recycling Label, alerting consumers to the fact that 100 percent of the packaging can be recycled. It just takes three simple steps – eat the Bix, recycle the box and REDCycle the bag. According to Sanitarium Health Food Company Executive General Manager Todd Saunders, if every Weet-Bix consumer recycled the inner plastic liner through a REDCycle bin, 200 tonnes of plastic would be diverted from landfill every year.

Praise mayonnaise bottles now recyclable
Every year, 12.4 million bottles of Praise are consumed across Australia.

All praise recycled plastic

Also on the recycling trail, mayonnaise brand Praise has announced that from Wednesday this week, all Praise mayo and aioli bottles and jars will be made using 100 percent Australian recycled plastic. An Australian-first in the category, it’ll save 380 tonnes of virgin plastic every year. Praise mayo and aioli is also made at sites using 100 percent renewable electricity. The jars, bottles and caps are also 100 percent recyclable.

Analiese Gregory: A Girl’s Guide to Hunting, Fishing and Wild Cooking
Analiese Gregory is on a mission to find a more connected and sustainable life.

A Girl’s Guide to Hunting, Fishing and Wild Cooking

Michelin star-trained chef Analiese Gregory is taking the biggest risk of her life. She’s leaving her high-flying restaurant career for a century-old cottage at the bottom of the world in Tasmania. Here, she wants to forge a new life for herself, learning to hunt, fish, forage and live seasonally, closer to nature. Gregory has given herself a year to see if she can make her intrepid adventure work. She shares her journey of discovery in A Girl’s Guide to Hunting, Fishing and Wild Cooking. The series premieres on Thursday, November 18 at 8.30pm on SBS Food. It will also be available after broadcast on SBS On Demand. In the show, Gregory combines her love of nature with her culinary skills to cultivate a cooking and lifestyle ethos of self-sufficiency which respects the seasons and local ingredients.

Latest updates in Australian food
Prom Country Cheese’s raw milk Moyarra Reserve.

And just in case you missed it…

This week, we took a deliciously deep dive into the world of raw milk cheese, examining the regulations, exemptions and controversies surrounding raw milk cheese production in Australia. We also profiled the only two Australian cheesemakers currently permitted to make uncooked curd raw milk cheese – Pecora Dairy and Prom Country Cheese.

We also busted some of the most common myths and misconceptions about food allergies, and got our grow on as we took a look at the benefits of vertical gardening. And, for those of you looking for a more natural meat substitute, we shared some tasty jackfruit recipes.

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