This week in Aussie food news
Our avocado growers are continuing to feel the pinch of the ongoing avocado glut. But while there’s an oversupply of Australian avocados right now, our major supermarkets are still selling cut-price imported ones. So make sure you double check where your avos are from before buying. Also in Aussie food this week, the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival has named the winners of the 2021 Legends Awards. Plus, a new destination market has opened in WA and an international flavour research facility has been launched at the University of Adelaide with the aim of improving the eating experience of plant-based proteins.
SA food and beverage awards
The winners of the South Australian Premier’s Food and Beverage Industry Awards have been announced. The 2021 roll call spans smaller and new enterprises through to household names. Winners this year include Good Country Hemp, which took out the Emerging Business Award, and Adelaide Showgrounds Farmers’ Market, which won the Service Provider Award for businesses with up to 15 full-time employees. 2021 has also seen the crowning of a new Consumer Award Legend. Golden North Ice Cream has scored a hat-trick, winning the Consumer Award three times. For a full list of winners, click here.
MFWF 2021 Legends Hall of Fame
Melbourne Food & Wine Festival has announced the winners of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival Legends program. The program showcases the contributions made by key figures across the spectrum of Victorian food and drink. This year, seven local identities were inducted into the Legends Hall of Fame: chef and restaurateur Karen Martini; producer Sharon Flynn of The Fermentary; producer Otto Dal Zotto of Dal Zotto Wines; journalist and restaurant critic Dani Valent; John Reid of RedBeard Bakery; chef Jung Eun Chae of Chae restaurant; and designer, restaurateur and zero-waste activist Joost Bakker.
WA’s newest destination market opens
Foodie alert! Busselton’s Origins Market is now open for business, connecting consumers with farmers, artisans and makers. More than 60 makers, creators and growers are located under the one roof. The market is also unlocking new opportunities for local businesses, including start-ups. Origins also aims to back the aspirations of local entrepreneurs through an incubator kitchen. This is available for hire by start-ups, producers and vendors wanting to cook up culinary creations or move into value-adding. In addition, two business incubator stalls will provide a platform for start-ups to sell their wares.
Avocado glut continues
Avocado growers in WA are dumping their fruit because it’s not worth paying the cost of packing and sending it to market. Prices have plummeted to just $18 a tray. A huge glut has been caused by a bumper national crop and record production year for WA. Foodservice closures in Sydney and Melbourne – WA’s major domestic markets – have also led to low prices. As a result, many producers are questioning why major supermarkets continue to offer imported fruit. So make sure you buy Australian avos, every time.
Take a deeper dive into your fruit & veg
Fruit and veg wholesaler Perfection Fresh has launched an interactive educational web-based Augmented Reality (AR) experience. All you need to do is scan the on-pack QR code and you can access the full experience. The new AR offering educates customers on the unique farming environments of Perfection Fresh’s growers right around Australia. The experience also offers recipe inspiration, storage tips on keeping produce fresher for longer, taste pairings and health and nutrition information.
New plant-based food flavour facility
Researchers from the University of Adelaide and the University of Nottingham have joined forces to launch a new international food flavour facility. Specifically, their aim is to improve the taste of plant-based foods and ingredients. The facility will expand the University of Nottingham’s International Flavour Research Centre. It’s also supported by by v2food, a leader in plant-based meat alternatives. The new centre will be bringing together world-class scientists across flavour chemistry, food and agriculture. They’ll be taking on the challenge of getting more plant-based food into people’s diet.
Australian branded food database
Food Standards Australia New Zealand has started work on a public online database of Australian branded food products. The database will provide a central source of brand-specific information for Australian foods and drinks. Its main purpose will be to help people make informed decisions about the products they buy. While the goal is to have 85 percent of products in national retailers in the database by 2023, there’s a downside. You’ll need to manually enter a product’s barcode number, which isn’t particularly user-friendly.
Fresh new line-up for Tasting Australia
McLaren Vale’s Karena Armstrong and culinary icon Darren Robertson have been appointed as Tasting Australia Co-Festival Directors. They’re joined by Emma McCaskill as the festival’s new Food Curator and Nick Stock as Drinks Curator. Tasting Australia is a key event on South Australia’s event program. It creates jobs and brings hundreds of tourists to Adelaide. To begin with, Armstrong and Robertson are assembling a line-up of gastronomic greats to cook alongside up-and-coming culinary stars. Go to tastingaustralia.com.au for more info.
Home cheesemaking classes at The Cheese School
Home cheesemaking and artisan dairy classes are coming to The Cheese School. The school, which is located in the beautiful environs of The Mill Castlemaine, has announced a collaboration with cheesemaker Kristen Allan of Kristen Allan Cheese. To begin with, classes will be on making yoghurt, cultured butter, labne and buttermilk ricotta. They’ll be held on Saturday, December 11 and Saturday January 15. Booking details are on Allan’s website.
One plant to save them all
A sustainable household product brand is putting the solution for environmental change into the hands and mouths of Australians. Cannalise has released a range of plant-powered cutlery and tableware. Each product is made from 100 percent hemp and plant fibre and crafted using heat compression technology. The result is a material that’s safe and hygienic, due to its non-porous surface. It’s also incredibly durable. The majority of products will also biodegrade in 180 days. It’s currently available from Amazon and premium retailers.
Say g’day to Aussie garlic
Fifth-generation farmers Andrew and David Moon have been growing garlic in western Queensland for almost 15 years. Their successful garlic brand, Moonrocks, is already available in supermarkets across the country. Now the brothers have launched a new brand – G’Day Garlic. The online retail business aims to offer premium Australian garlic products that leave imported Chinese garlic offerings for dust… literally. It launched with garlic powders, and now the brand has expanded to offer fresh garlic bulbs.
What’s next for Nexba?
Nexba, Australia’s homegrown natural and sugar-free drinks brand, has just launched a range of Nootropic drinks. Nootropics are active ingredients that support cognitive function to improve attention, memory and alertness. The Nexba Nootropic range includes four drinks, all sugar-free and containing nootropic-certified ingredients that support a specific function. The new range will be available nationally at Woolworths from this week.
Also in Aussie food news this week…
For students ploughing through exams, we shared the top brain-boosting foods. On the baking front, we sifted through the variety of alternative flours now available. For those looking for an inner glow, Locako has launched a range of beauty foods featuring native ingredients. And if you’re after tasty meat alternatives, we profiled Coco & Lucas, and Aussie food business with an amazing back story. Finally, for World Vegan Month, we shared a recipe with a difference: Vegemite vegan brownies. And it’s not as weird as it sounds.
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