Making headlines: the latest food news

27th November 2021 | Eativity editors

How long would it take to fill the MCG with potatoes? While we were tempted to try and work this out for ourselves, and even started stocking up on spuds, luckily someone else figured it out first. You can find out the answer below. We also reveal the two Australian cities that have won global acclaim for their food, culture and sustainable development. Also making headlines this week, our horticulture industry gets a double boost, new data has revealed where Aussies are spending their money, and NSW farmers make an urgent call for government assistance as heavy rains continue to inundate the state’s farming regions. Catch up with the latest food news from Australia in this week’s round-up.

Latest food news: NSW farmers flooded
The focus is now moving from saving harvests to minimising damage to the land.

NSW farmers inundated by flood

The NSW Farmers Association is calling for natural disaster declarations to allow relief funds to flow as torrential rains continue to soak vast parts of the state, causing widespread flood damage. NSW Farmers Grains Committee Chair Justin Everitt says members across the state are reporting paddocks underwater. There’s now no doubt there will be significant losses. “Watching those paddocks go under; that’s bank repayments, school fees, Christmas presents going under as well,” Everitt says. “All those hopes swallowed up by all that water. We urgently need measures to help people start to clean up and get on with their lives.”

#knowyourAUSVEG
No small potatoes: our growers produced enough spuds to fill the MCG in just one year.

#knowyourAUSVEG

Did you know that in the last year, Australia’s vegetable producers grew enough potatoes to fill the Melbourne Cricket Ground? They also grew enough carrots to fill 300 Olympic-sized swimming pools. AUSVEG, the peak industry body for vegetable and potato growers, is working to educate the public on our vegetable industry, posting across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn to highlight the significant contributions of the industry to the national economy, the livelihoods of its workers and the health of every Australian.

Latest food news: Launceston named a UNESCO City of Gastronomy
Launceston: one of the world’s great food regions.

Launceston: City of Gastronomy

The city of Launceston has successfully bid to be designated a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, joining 36 other cities in the global network. Launched in 2004, the UNESCO Creative Cities Network aims to help guide economic, social, cultural and environmentally sustainable development. Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten says the project will help to cement Launceston’s identity as an internationally recognised region for food and drinks. Victoria’s Bendigo was also named a Creative City of Gastronomy in 2019.

Latest food news: Melbourne named a City of the Future
Melbourne is making strides to being kinder on the planet and its residents.

Melbourne: City of the Future

abillion, an online platform for reviewing plant-based food and products, has crunched the numbers on the most vegan-friendly and future-ready global cities. Their research has determined the 10 best cities in the world for “conscious citizens”. And Melbourne comes in at number 4. The “Cities of the Future” report was based on 850,000 user reviews contributed by 32,000 members from 150 countries and 6000 cities. The final score was then computed from four categories: plant-based living (50%), the city’s green policy commitment (30%), greenhouse gas emissions (10%) and waste generated (10%).

Latest food news: Gatton Smart Farm to bring new ag tech to farmers
Robots can reduce labour inputs on-farm, a bonus during the current worker shortages.

Breaking new ground for horticulture

Automation, field-based sensors, weather station networks, protected cropping and supply chain tools are just some of the technologies that Australian horticulture growers will be able to test at a new $9M “smart farm” facility. The Gatton Smart Farm will comprise a hub in Queensland, as well as a series of satellite farms where equipment that suits various crops or regional needs will be trialled. The project is being delivered through Hort Innovation and is led by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. The new facility will give growers unprecedented access to the very latest ag tech on the market.

Latest food news: Edith Cowan University to launch WA's only university horticulture course
The WA horticulture industry is on the cusp of a boom. Graduates will have big opportunities ahead of them.

Horticulture course to spark new growth

Edith Cowan University is set to launch WA’s only university horticulture course. The new major in ECU’s Bachelor of Science course has the aim of growing education and research capability for one of the state’s most important industries. Developed by internationally recognised horticulture expert Professor Zora Singh, the course will help the state government in its goal to double food production by 2025. Graduates will be well-placed to join an industry already crying out for skilled workers. Applications are now open for 2022.

Latest food news: border reopening good news for hospitality
With lockdowns over, diners are keen to eat out again. But restaurants are struggling to find staff.

Hospitality industry wins in border change

The federal government has announced that Australia will change international border arrangements from December 1. Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA) says that international students, skilled migrants and those who apply for working holiday visas will help stem the staffing crisis that’s currently plaguing our hospitality industry. “Even before the pandemic, Australia’s hospitality sector was desperate for staff,” says R&CA CEO Wes Lambert. “Although the industry still has a long way to go until we reach pre-pandemic staff levels, this is a much welcomed and much needed announcement”.

Great Wrap wins global award
Aussies churn through more than 150,000 tonnes of plastic wrap every year. Choose a kinder alternative.

Melbourne start-up wins global award

Great Wrap, the only Australian made and owned manufacturer of compostable stretch wrap, has been named as the winner in the Consumer Packaged Goods category at this year’s FoodBytes! Pitch program. RaboBank’s competition for food start-ups sees companies from around the world receive mentorship and advice while they’re judged on how they address global food challenges. Three winners were selected from a pool of 15 finalists, and Great Wrap was the only Australian company recognised with an award. The business has also announced the launch of compostable catering wrap.

Latest food news: where Australians are spending their money
Transactions at specialist food stores have soared around 60% compared to the same time last year.

Aussies spending big on small business

eftpos shopping data has revealed big increases in specialised food and eating out, as well as pubs, holidays and haircuts. Specialised food stores that service the nation’s culturally diverse palate are among the strongest performers in Australia’s recovering post-COVID economy. Eating out has also rebounded well. Cafes and restaurants have posted a 58 percent jump compared to this time last year, higher than pre-COVID levels.

Local Brewing Co. Surplus Sour Watermelon Beer
Surplus sour is only the first in a planned range of beers to be made from excess fruit.

Brewing up a solution to food waste

Victoria’s Local Brewing Co. has been making beer that makes a difference since 2019. The business has partnered with food rescue organisation SecondBite. For every pack and pint of beer purchased, Local Brewing Co. provides a meal to someone in need through SecondBite. Now the craft beer brand has found a way to make use of excess food that would otherwise go to waste. Surplus Sour Watermelon Beer is made using excess melons from Rombola Family Farms, while unsold Coles bread is used to help with the fermentation process. It’s a refreshingly sustainable way to make use of perfectly good food.

CherryHill Orchards: the Victorian Cherry Trail
Enjoy sweet, juicy cherries while supporting growers this summer.

For more of the latest food news…

We reveal the best foods for a productivity boost, the Victorian Cherry Trail opens for business and new research reveals the recycling mistakes that Australians are still making. We also share some King salmon recipes fit for royalty and profile a Melbourne plant-care business that’s found an incredibly simple way to make use of excess food.

Want to keep up to date with all the latest food news in Australia? Just sign up to our newsletter in the box below. You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram. We’ve got more good food news to inspire and entice you next week. So stay tuned!