Local food news from across Australia
Last August, a senate inquiry was launched to examine the issue of plant-based protein product labelling. Meat industry groups claim it’s confusing; plant protein groups beg to differ. Well, the inquiry has handed down its findings. You can find out who came out victorious below. In other local food news, our spice and stone fruit industries both scored a win this week. Also, Sydneysiders can look forward to an eely good time this March. And for all the lovers out there, a new product offers the ultimate solution to Twisties breath.
Bad news for plant-based meat
The senate inquiry into meat definitions and other animal products has handed down a list of nine recommendations in its report. Meat and farming industries have welcomed the recommendations, which includes the development of a mandatory regulatory framework for the labelling of plant-based protein products. It also recommends the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) reviews the placement of plant-based protein products in stores. But the plant protein industry is understandably disappointed. The Alternative Proteins Council says the recommendations “have largely ignored evidence showing that Australian consumers understand current labels”.
Local food supply chains in the spotlight
Farmers have welcomed a renewed focus on our fresh food supply chains by the ACCC after outgoing ACCC Chair Rod Sims raised the issue at the National Press Club of Australia. “The 2020 ACCC perishable agricultural goods inquiry was a breakthrough for fresh food farmers,” says NSW Farmers Vice President Xavier Martin. “Many of whom face eroding competition in their local food supply chains.” Australia has an incredibly concentrated supermarket sector. Martin says there are many examples of how this has enabled retailers to perversely influence the market value of food. Meaningful change is needed to create equitable supply chains, so that farmers are adequately rewarded for their work.
First spice orders replace imported kalonji
The burgeoning northern Australian spice industry has moved from concept to impact! First orders have been secured to replace 100 tonnes of imported kalonji seed. Melbourne firm Hab Shifa imports 800 tonnes a year of kalonji seed (AKA nigella) for sale as a health ingredient and for production of therapeutic oils. It has now engaged Australian seed tech company AgriVentis Technologies to supply locally produced seed. It’s a major breakthrough for the Australian spice industry and a win for local food systems. The volume of spices supplied to Hab Shifa will soon increase as more farmers enter the spice industry.
Aussie stone fruit heads to Vietnam
Australian peach and nectarine exporters once again have market access into Vietnam. This follows the successful completion of negotiations between the two countries. Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud says trade expansion into Vietnam will provide greater export opportunities for Aussie producers and also support the livelihood of regional communities. Vietnam is a priority market for Australian fruit. The growing middle class there has a strong demand for high quality, affordable fresh foods. Luckily, it’s a demand our farmers are able and willing to meet. Littleproud’s department is now working with industry to enable trial exports by the end of this season. Trade will fully open at the start of next season.
Making room for ’shrooms
Nutrition Research Australia is working with the hospitality and food sectors to boost our intake of mushrooms. It’s hoped that increasing national mushie consumption will lead to improved health outcomes, such as reducing vitamin D deficiencies. Researchers will work with organisations such as hospitals and aged care facilities, as well as food retail outlets and manufacturers to identify ways that mushrooms can be incorporated into menus and products. Mushies don’t just add nutrition; they can also improve the taste of food. Researchers will also work with culinary institutions to add mushroom education to the curriculum. This will introduce ’shrooms to our hospitality industry at a grassroots level.
Bocuse d’Or Australia returns
Melbourne is hosting the long-awaited Bocuse d’Or Australia 2022 this Sunday. Four Aussie chefs will compete for the title of Bocuse d’Or Australia 2022 as well as the honour of representing their country in the world’s most prestigious culinary contest. The competing chefs are Sweta Baichoo, Chef de Cuisine, Pullman Melbourne on the Park; Leslie Chan, Head of Food Innovation & Training at Sushi Sushi; Alex McIntosh, Head Chef, Sou’West Brewery Torquay; and Paul Golding, Head Chef, Snooks Catering. The highest-scoring chef will compete at Bocuse d’Or Asia Pacific. From there, they could make it to the grand finale in France. Watch via live stream on the Bocuse d’Or Australia Facebook page from 1pm.
Eel be back
If you’re in Sydney this March 13, make sure you head to Elizabeth Farm for the Eel Festival. This free, family-friendly event returns to celebrate Parramatta’s namesake, the eel. It also acknowledges the significance of the eel to the local Burramattagal people, who’d gather in autumn to trade goods and share stories and local food. It’s a great opportunity to learn about the Indigenous heritage of Parramatta on Darug Country. The event will include performances, boomerang painting and Darug language workshops. Gastronomer Dr Jacqui Newling will also demonstrate the various ways colonists prepared eel. Then enjoy a meal prepared by Indigenous food providers Kallico Catering. To register, click here.
Young Farmers Connect will be holding a special webinar event on International Women’s Day (IWD, March 8). The theme of this year’s IWD is #BreakTheBias. And so, this event aims to start a conversation about gender equality and a world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination for female farmers. It will take a deep dive into diversity through the lived experience of four female farmers – Tanya Massy, Thanisa Adams, Oliva Awaritefe and Kate McBride. Through discussion and interactive activities, the webinar will explore how we can imagine a gender-equal world for female farmers. To register your spot, click here.
No more Twisties breath
Following the episode of Married at First Sight (MAFS) that aired on Monday, in which groom Matt Ridley apologised for his Chicken Twisties breath, Twisties decided to mobilise and create a solution. To ensure MAFS fans and hopeless romantics everywhere can still enjoy eating Twisties without any stinky breath issues, the company has released an official prototype – Mint Twisties. It’s a snack that can be enjoyed before your first date, first kiss or even on your wedding day. And all with minty-fresh breath. Twisties management says they’re now looking to the public to see if this is a product they’d like to see on shelves in the future. They probably shouldn’t hold their (Twisties) breath.
It takes allsorts
Darrell Lea has thrown its support behind Australia’s LGBTIQ+ community, releasing limited-edition Liquorice Allsorts-inspired make-up to celebrate Mardi Gras. The company has collaborated with Australian cosmetic brand The Lip Lab to launch the initiative with the aim of supporting inclusivity and diversity. It has also changed the name of the iconic product to Loves Allsorts. A portion of every Loves Allsorts and lipstick pack sold will be donated to QLife, a free and anonymous Australia-wide LGBTIQ+ phone and webchat service. Visit theliplab.com.au to purchase the pack of three lipsticks. Loves Allsorts will be available at supermarkets and convenience stores until sold out.
Also in local food news this week…
This week we caught up with one of the founders of Feed Our Medics. These legends have been providing nourishing meals to exhausted frontline healthcare workers since 2020. To help those who might be struggling with their new year’s resolutions, we also offered expert tips on healthy eating. And for those who love to dish up something a little different, we shared a recipe for a mushroom grazing board and took a trip through the wonderful world of offal. Speaking of nose-to-tail eating, we also profiled Frida’s Field. This paddock-to-plate farm and restaurant is doing great things in sustainable food production.
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