Saturday, 22 November 2014

Australian Made

I copped strange looks as I threw bag after bag of frozen peas back into the supermarket freezer. Made in New Zealand. Made in USA. Packed in Australia using imported ingredients. Why can’t I find brand name Australian products? I was forced to go against principles I’ve had in place since 2011 and buy Woolworths brand frozen peas.

For me, shopping is tedious. I don’t cook, I really only eat packaged food. I’m lazy and eat because it’s necessary not because I enjoy it. Except for good pasta. I enjoy that. So, my shopping has me checking the back of every packet looking for the words “Made in Australia” or bear the Australian Made symbol. As Australian made products slowly diminish, creating and keeping jobs in other countries rather than our own I wonder, do people really not care where their food comes from? How many of them give enough of a toss to think about checking?

Earlier this year SPC Ardmona nearly went bust and needed a government hand out to survive and keep their factory in Victoria open. Meanwhile, Italian brands flourish because their 20cents cheaper. SPC Ardmona do canned vegetables, in particular canned tomatoes (diced, chopped and whole).

Late last year Spring Gully did a Facebook call out asking for consumers to buy their products and keep jobs in Australia. The South Australian company manufacture relishes, pickles and sauces. Their corn relish is brilliant on a corned beef sandwich.

As far as I know, San Remo, another South Australian company, is doing okay. Their specialty is pastas and sauces. But that doesn’t mean we should get complacent.  If people keep buying home brand or some other brand they’ll be in strife too.

Consumers blame the government for not supporting our food industries but really, the only group we should be pissed off with is ourselves. It’s up to US to keep jobs here in Australia. It’s up to US to check the back of the packets, the signs above the vegetables, the stickers on the meat trays to know that what we are buying is going to keep fellow Australians employed. So next time you head in to the supermarket think before you buy. Even better, avoid the supermarket altogether. Buy your veggies from the grocer and the meat from the butcher. If you live in the country head to the farmers markets. Just, for goodness sake, BUY AUSTRALIAN!

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