Australians need to reinvigorate their passion for Australian produce and Australian-made products.
More than ever before, we are becoming less particular about what we buy. The primary consumer position is often price, but price alone does not place Australian products out of reach.
Take food for example. As the big two supermarkets move to change consumer habits from known brands to their own brands, more and more products are likely to contain imported ingredients in full or part.
To them its all about margins, and a self-branded product made overseas or from cheaper ingredients from other countries with Woolworths or Coles packaging gives the impression it is
Australian but may better serve the supermarket’s bottom line.
A growing list of companies producing food made in Australia and from Australian ingredients are
complaining about their battles with the supermarket giants who are favouring cheaper options or driving down wholesale prices. The supermarkets say they are responding to consumer demand, but sadly the consumer mostly does not investigate where the product comes from.
The all things Australian crusader Dick Smith has been complaining about this for years. His Australian food business which was established to support Australian producers and to ensure Australian products had a presence on supermarket shelves, is now only a shell of what it once was. He is finding it harder to get shelf space and the supermarkets are favouring other products.
Also joining the fight is the well known cook and food producer Maggie Beer.
While some of her products have a presence in the big two supermarkets, she expressed her disappointment that Australians are not more parochial when it comes to consumer decisions.
‘’So many Australians seek the cheapest alternative in food, and perhaps this is exacerbated by the big two (retailers), our duopoly, that pits one against the other in price wars, that see the farmer suffer. We have to do something about that,’’ she said.
Australians must learn to look beyond the supermarket shelf and the price label. We all have a duty to support Australian farmers and should understand our produce is amongst the best in the world. That’s something we can be proud of.
The Buy Australian campaign which stops and starts is too general and needs a revamp.
And while the Federal government has had its focus on cigarette packaging, it should look at packaging laws which provide Australian products an advantage.
And consumers need to learn not to follow the manipulatory ways of the supermarkets, and instead make a consumer stand for the Australian grown, Australian products which should be our first choice.