The latest in food news this week
When it comes to Christmas food, what’s your ultimate fave? New research has revealed Australia’s top 10 favourite festive foods. Disappointingly, salad came in at number 6. However, if your answer was “seafood”, we salute you. But only if it’s sustainably caught here in Australia. We’ve got the info you need on how you can ensure your Christmas seafood spread gets the sustainability tick this year. Also in Christmas comestibles, Choice reveals the best festive shortbreads, and a nationwide search begins for the country’s best mince pie. Read on below for all the latest in food news, which includes the upcoming release of a next-level range of Tim Tams that will make you say, “Is it 2022 yet?“
Fear factor in fresh food supply
A government report has revealed that farmers are afraid to speak out on their dealings with major supermarkets because of a “fear of retribution”. NSW Farmers Dairy Committee Chair Colin Thompson says the findings from the inaugural Food and Grocery Code review vindicated the efforts to secure fairness in fresh food supply chains. “The majority of pay rise negotiations were fruitless for farmers in 2021; almost a third of major supermarket suppliers cited ‘fear of retribution’ as a reason for not raising issues,” he says. “Something is clearly wrong when people are afraid to have their say. It’s clear many farmers won’t raise concerns or ask for improved pay because of how powerful these supermarkets are.”
Aussies want to buy Aussie avocados
An Avocados Australia survey has found that the majority of Australians want to buy avocados grown in Australia. However, 55 percent of us find it difficult to identify Australian avocados in store. Often, the country of origin isn’t clear on the label. Therefore, it’s no surprise that 55 percent of consumers were unsure whether they’d purchased an imported avocado in the past 12 months. If you’re looking for Aussie avos in store and can’t find them, ask, because there are plenty available. Production is at an all-time high this year.
How sustainable is your seafood feast?
New national research from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) reveals two-thirds of Aussies plan to enjoy prawns this Christmas, while four in 10 are more likely to put wild-caught lobster on the menu again this year. Despite demand for items like prawns and lobster, the research also reveals that only 44 percent of Aussies plan to purchase wild-caught sustainable seafood this Christmas. This is a decline from last year. When buying seafood, look for the MSC blue tick. This ensures that the fish was sustainably caught. All wild-caught seafood from fisheries certified to the MSC Fisheries Standard receives the blue tick.
The changing face of farming
A new breed of young women farmers who are shaking up the food system has been captured in a new magazine that is set to challenge stereotypes and heralds a radical shift in farming culture. The independent magazine, “The Changing Face of Farming”, is published by not-for-profit farmer network, Young Farmers Connect (YFC). YFC has the vision to create an annual publication focusing on our food systems and farming culture, with all proceeds supporting young regenerative and small-scale farmers. This year, the mag is dedicated to celebrating the roles and voices of women. Buy your copy here.
Food and housing crisis for Melbourne bees
RMIT researchers are calling on Melburnians to plant the right plants and create the right homes for native pollinators. As Melbourne’s gardens burst into life after a wet spring, native insects are out looking for flowers and pollen. But city gardens often don’t have the right types of food and homes for these helpful native bees. For home gardeners, the key is to plant flowers with a variety of shapes and colours, and to work with neighbours to create your own bee-friendly neighbourhood. Native insects prefer native flowers, especially local ones: native bluebells, daisies; even trees like eucalypts. As a result, gardeners will enjoy better tomato crops and more flowers, and they’ll be helping to boost urban biodiversity.
Australia’s favourite Christmas food
New research commissioned by IGA has revealed that the iconic leg of ham is Australia’s favourite Christmas food in 2021, hitting the top spot for the second year running. Roast pork has shot up in popularity, going from number seven in 2020 to number three in 2021. But it seems we’re falling out of love with some Christmas traditions, as the humble pud has been bumped down to the fifth spot. The 10 most popular Christmas foods this year are:
1. Leg of ham
2. Fresh seafood
3. Roast pork
4. Baked vegetables
5. Christmas cake/pudding
7. Fresh fruit
10. Roast lamb
Choice rates the best Christmas shortbread
Also on the Christmas food front, consumer watchdog Choice has tested 10 festive shortbread products to find out which is best to put out at Christmas. The Choice score for shortbread takes into account appearance, flavour, baked quality and quality of finish. According to Choice experts, the top three shortbreads are IGA Signature Decorated Shortbread Cookies, with an overall score of 77%; Walkers Homebake Shortbread Festive Shapes, with a score of 75%; and IGA Signature Festive Shortbread Cookies, with a score of 70%. You can check out the full Choice shortbread results here.
Who makes the best mince pies?
Tamworth flour mill FPM Cereal Milling has launched a nationwide search for the country’s greatest fruit mince pie. The Fruit Mince Tart Competition invites bakers across the country to participate for the chance to win flour milled from sustainable wheat grown in northern NSW’s Golden Triangle. The competition includes categories for both commercial bakeries and home bakers. To be in the running to win, the mince tarts must be dropped off or mailed to the FPM mill at 1 Showground Road, Tamworth, by December 17 at 5pm.
Christmas Lunch in the Park
For 46 years, Mission Australia’s Christmas Lunch in the Park (CLIP) has helped bring some Christmas joy to those who may be experiencing homelessness or disadvantage in the Perth community. As Australia’s largest Christmas lunch event, CLIP has served more than 67,000 meals to those who need it most. Last year’s event had more than 1200 attendees, and numbers are expected to increase this year. You can “Donate a Plate” online, where a donation of just $100 can provide Christmas lunch, gifts and care packs for a family of four.
Melbourne Skyfarm comes to life
In a Victorian first, a large section of a 2000m2 rooftop car park in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD has been transformed into a thriving urban farm, with work continuing over the next 12 months. When complete, it will feature a rooftop orchard, nursery, environmental education space, cafe and event spaces. Aptly named Melbourne Skyfarm, the sustainable city oasis is located in the Seafarer’s precinct and directly overlooks the Yarra River to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. When fully completed in the second half of 2022, Melbourne Skyfarm will be open to the general public.
Tassie produce guide launched
The 2021/22 edition of the Tasmanian Seasonal Produce Guide has been launched, just in time for the fresh fruit season. The guide links producers directly with consumers. “Tasmanians have shown during the pandemic they want to get out and support local producers,” says Fruit Growers Tasmania CEO Peter Cornish. “The guide showcases our growers, cider makers and honey and other producers who open direct to the public.” More than 8000 copies of the guide will be distributed to consumers throughout the state. You can also find it on the Fruit Growers Tasmania website.
Next level Tim Tams
2022 is already set to trump 2021, purely for the fact that, well, it won’t be 2021. But now there’s another reason that should have chocolate lovers champing at the bit for next year to come. Arnott’s has revealed a new and ultra-indulgent range of Tim Tam flavours will hit shelves in the New Year. To whet your appetite, Arnott’s has unveiled one of the six new flavours this week: Decadent Triple Choc. The new flavour is the first in Arnott’s brand-new Tim Tam Deluxe range – the most indulgent Tim Tam range. Ever. The full Tim Tam Deluxe collection won’t be hitting shelves until early 2022. More info will be revealed soon.
For more of the latest in food news…
This week, we took a look at food prices and shortages in the lead-up to Christmas. Check it out before you plan your shopping list. We also shared how to minimise waste this Christmas, and how to glaze the ultimate Christmas ham. In health, we explored the issue of food addiction, including current treatments available. Finally, we got our warm and fuzzies from paying a visit to Scrubby Hill Farm in Tasmania. It’s a market garden that has grown to become an integral part of the community it belongs to.
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