News bites: floods, farmers & furphys
While floods continue to cause heartache and devastating losses across NSW and Queensland, hospitality heroes are stepping up to support those affected. But there is some good news for our farmers and fishers, as you’ll find out below. Also making food news this week, a study confutes the claim that we’re confused by plant-based meat products. Plus, an Aussie ice cream icon gets a makeover in time for the Easter Bunny.
Farmers worried about climate change
A new report commissioned by Farmers for Climate Action has revealed that climate change is putting our food supply chains at risk. Climate change is leading to a higher frequency and severity of extreme weather events such as floods, bushfires and droughts. As climate change accelerates, the associated risks to food supply arising from these events are growing. While farmers and others along the supply chain have risk management plans for such events, the more often they occur, the more likely it is that supply chains will become overwhelmed and fail, leaving bare supermarket shelves. The report states that, “If climate change continues unabated, this likelihood will become a certainty”.
Seafood industry bounces back
The newly released ABARES Australian Fisheries and Aquaculture Outlook 2022 report shows the sector will reach $3.55 billion GVP this year, the highest since 2002-03. Seafood Industry Australia (SIA) has welcomed the news. SIA CEO Veronica Papacosta says, “It’s no secret it’s been an extraordinary two years for the Australian seafood industry. We’ve dealt with natural disasters, trade export restrictions and the impacts of COVID-19. To see a return to growth shows we are on the right track. This needs to be celebrated.”
New market for dairy farmers
A new open milk market has been launched, empowering dairy farmers and providing greater price transparency for the industry. The Australian Milk Price Initiative (AMPI) will give dairy farmers more choice of who to sell their milk to. It also means farmers can lock in long-term pricing for their milk. “There is no more transparent price signal than an open market price,” says Australian Dairy Farmers President, Rick Gladigau. “AMPI will improve risk management across the supply chain with back-to-back pricing from customer to processor to farmer, providing the ability to lock in margins across the chain. Better margins and risk management enables better planning, which, in turn, drives investment and growth across the supply chain. More investment means a strong dairy industry.”
Confusion over meat-free labels unfounded
The meat, poultry and seafood industries claim Australians are confused when it comes to plant-based meat labelling. But a new study by the Institute for Sustainable Futures shows we know exactly what we’re eating when we choose plant-based products. The study surveyed more than 1000 Australians in all parts of the country. It found that we’re unlikely to be “duped” into eating plant-based meat. Animal-product labelling can, however, lead to consumer confusion. Forty-one percent of plant-based respondents said they’d bought a product to later discover it contains animal ingredients. Only four percent of people surveyed inadvertently purchased a plant-based product because of label confusion.
Gerard’s Bistro to host flood-relief dinner
Some of Brisbane’s top chefs are joining forces to hold a special Farmers Flood Relief dinner. Hosted by Gerard’s Bistro, chefs from OTTO, Stanley, Joy, ESSA, Yoko and Agnes will join Executive Chef Adam Wolfers in the kitchen to cook up a feast and show their support for the local farmers that have been hardest hit by the recent devastating floods. The Farmers Flood Relief dinner will be held on Wednesday, March 30. All proceeds will go directly to farmers to help them rebuild. Small-scale farms and producers that will be supported by the event include The Falls Farm, Neighbourhood Farm, Loop Growers and Noosa Reds. You can book your spot here. But you’d better hustle. Seats are limited.
Team effort delivers to those in need
Celebrity chef Miguel Maestre has also been working to show his support for those affected by the floods. Maestre put out a call asking for help to cook up almost 1000 portions of paella. Woolworths jumped on board to provide all the ingredients. OzHarvest was able to provide a van to pick up and transport the meals to Foodbank Australia, which distributed the food to those in need in flood-affected areas in the Northern Rivers region in NSW. You can donate to the Foodbank NSW floods appeal here; the Qld floods appeal here.
Beers for Mates
Australian Venue Co will be raising money in all venues nationally to assist those affected by the Queensland and NSW floods. Until March 31, “Beers for Mates” will be donating $1 for every schooner and $2 for every pint sold to the Red Cross Qld and NSW floods appeal. With more than 180 Australian Venue Co venues across the country, it’s hoped many thousands of dollars will be donated through the campaign. In Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia, donations will come from the sales of Furphy beer. In Queensland and the Northern Territory, fundraising will be through sales of XXXX Gold. To find the nearest Australian Venue Co pub or bar, head to ausvenueco.com.au.
More support needed for WA hospitality
Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA) has called for more support for businesses after the WA government announced Level 2 public health measures on Thursday, March 3. “If the WA government is going to refuse to learn to live with COVID like the rest of Australia, they can at least make up for this loss in business and weakening of consumer confidence by boosting the currently inadequate support for WA’s more than 4000 restaurants, cafes and catering businesses,” says R&CA CEO Wes Lambert. “If the government is going to make it hard to do business, they should at least compensate venues for their loss.” R&CA will continue to advocate for an easing of restrictions on WA hospitality venues.
The Printing Room
Since COVID, private dining rooms have become the go-to for combining the food and service of a restaurant with the privacy and relaxed environment of home. Tasmania’s recently opened Italian-inspired restaurant, Peppina, at The Tasman, has a stunning 18 seat private dining room called The Printing Room. It sits within the original sandstone walls of the circa 1860 room that once housed the printing presses for the surveyor’s department. A single 18-seat table runs the length of the room. Original windows and doors, as well as two heritage fireplaces, create a truly unique and intimate dining experience. Guests can expect a daily evolving menu featuring seasonal pastas, locally sourced meats and seafood cooked on the grill, as well as a selection of antipasti. To book, head to peppinarestaurant.com.
Easter gets an Aussie icon
Bubble O’Bill fans can enjoy their favourite ice cream in a new format this Easter. For the first time ever, Bubble O’Bill will be available as an Easter egg. Created in collaboration with Chocolatier Australia, the 160g egg is coated in strawberry-marbled chocolate. This has been mixed with crunchy caramel and chewy berry pieces. Inside, you’ll find five of the biggest bubble gum noses in the west. Chocolatier Australia’s Golden Gaytime Eggsellence Easter egg will also be making a return this Easter. You can find Bubble O’Bill in egg form at Woolies. The Golden Gaytime egg will be available at Coles and Woolies.
Also making food news this week…
Are you getting your daily veg? The nutrition and agriculture sectors have joined forces to make increasing our national vegetable consumption a priority for our COVID recovery. To celebrate Australian fresh produce, we shared the fruits and vegies that are now coming into season as autumn draws in. Autumn also means the beginning of cold and flu season, so we showed you how easy it is to boost your immunity with eggs. On the alternative protein front, two nutrition academics explored why Aussies aren’t eating insects. And finally, we profiled the Byron Bay Chilli Co, which is celebrating 30 delicious years.
Want to keep up to date with all the latest local food news? Just sign up for 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!