Last week while at the supermarket I walked around trying to find a jar of peanut butter that was made in Australia. The first brand I picked up had tiny writing on the bottom of the rear label saying it was made overseas. The next brand had the “Australian Made” logo on the back with a misleading statement about being made from imported ingredients underneath. On my third jar, I finally found one that I think was made in Australia as it said “Made in Australia using local ingredients”.
Three attempts, two dodgy labels and I finally found what I was looking for. This had me thinking, should we have an “Australian Only” aisle in supermarkets?
We’re becoming pickier with our food choices and more specific in our food decision. I believe that this is quite acceptable. Growing up when we went to the supermarket we could trust that the food lining the aisles was made in Australia and if we found something imported it was more expensive and generally, we didn’t want it anyway.
But slowly over time as Australia’s trade relationship with foreign countries has strengthened we’ve developed an economy dependent on this trade. In 2013 import and exports made up 21 per cent and 19 per cent of GDP respectively.
But this drive for the global trade of goods has been detrimental to our own producers and manufacturers. Asian businesses with obscenely low resourcing costs and mass production are able to produce goods on mass for very cheap prices. Overseas farms have incredibly cheap labour, chemical modification to create perfect looking fruits and vegetables and sell them to Australia for minimal prices. The problem is that these prices are too cheap for our own manufacturers and farmers to compete with.
Australia is a nation that has been built by our farmers. The livestock and produce farmers are some of the most important people in our history and because of the boom in trade with countries who can provide goods and services at heavily reduced prices, they’ve been doing it tough for a long time.
I know I want to buy Australian made goods for this reason. It’s because I want to support the people that have dedicated their lives to something so integral in Australian culture and history. However, there are so many other reasons why so many others would appreciate an “Australian Only” aisle.
The labelling of food is so unclear at the moment and from what I hear, certification is corrupt. Almost anything can be certified as “Australian Made” as long as they pay enough. This means that big multinational companies can drop the dollars to get the image. It would be great if this could be changed and each supermarket had an aisle that was dedicated to products that fell in all three of the following categories; Australian owned, Australian made and Australian ingredients.
I think an “Australian Only” supermarket aisle is a great idea and if there was a chance for this to go ahead, it would completely have my support.
So today I want to know, do you agree? Would you like to see an “Australian Only” aisle in supermarkets? Share your thoughts in the comments below…