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This week Down Under

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

This week Down Under

Related tags Roy morgan Australia

Consumer confidence highest in six months
Confidence jumps on more positive budget reaction

Australia’s federal budget was largely greeted with approval, with consumer confidence up a cumulative 5.4% over the last two weeks, according to a survey by Roy Morgan Research for ANZ Bank.

The last time confidence was so high was early November 2014. 

The initial positive reaction of Australians to last week’s budget is great news for the economic outlook​,” said ANZ chief economist Warren Hogan. 

In contrast to last year’s budget, consumer sentiment has risen in both the lead-up to and the immediate period after budget night​. 

The 3.6% weekly rise in measured confidence is almost twice the average weekly move of 2%, which indicates to us that the budget impact has been strongly positive​. 

This suggests to us that Australians believe the government has got the mix of medium-term fiscal consolidation and short-term support for the economy about right. We tend to agree and will be watching just how far the government’s fiscal policy can support sentiment over the months ahead​.”

Butter overtakes margarine in popularity 

The way each camp thinks

Another survey by Roy Morgan found that butter has overtaken margarine as the spread of choice among Australian grocery shoppers.

More than half of grocery buyers bought butter in an average month last year—up six percentage points since 2010.

Now less than half (49%) of shoppers bought Margarine—itself down 9 percentage points over the same period. Butter buying has registered an increase every year since 2010 to the detriment of margarine, which has been moving consistently in the opposite direction.

Australians are becoming more health-conscious and aware of fat content, more concerned by additives and genetic modification, and more interested in cooking and entertaining​,” said Angela Smith of Roy Morgan Research.

Margarine buyers are more likely to be concerned with cholesterol and fat, while those buying butter are more likely to be concerned with finding additive-free, organic and genetically unmodified groceries.

Auckland agency picks up only antipodean Dieline award

Auckland’s Brother Design agency was the sole Australasian company to win in this year’s Dieline Awards—the Oscars of the packaging design world. The company took first place in the “Confectionery, snacks, desserts​” category with its designs for the Pams Confectionery range.

Brother Design's winning packaging

The packaging that won them the award features an eye-catching gang of colourful characters, wearing distinctive hats and cleverly conceived see-through clothing that reveals the sweets within. 

Brother beat 1,100 other international entries to seal the award. Paula Bunny, design director, said: “Designers worldwide have enormous respect for the Dieline and its awards, it’s a real source of inspiration. So to be a category winner is just amazing, especially as we’re the only agency from New Zealand or Australia to do so​.”

Dairy+cycling=reduced bone calcium loss (quite possibly)

Consuming dairy-laiden food before pounding a racing bike may help reduce the risk of bone breaks and osteoporosis. 

Looking for ways to reduce calcium loss among its elite riders, the Australian Institute of Sport believes the practice would counter the body’s hunt for calcium found in the bones to replace quantities of the substance that are lost through sweat when the body is active with low-intensity sports. 

The Dairy Australia-backed research suggested that dairy should be part of a pre-ride meal, around two hours before setting off.

"It stops your bones from having to dissolve a little bit, to put the calcium back into the blood stream, as to being lost from the blood sweat​," the institute’s Professor Louise Burke  told ABC Radio.

Too many athletes believe the myth that eating dairy before exercise can cause stomach upsets and will affect their performance, Burke added.

Aussies eating more processed foods than ever 


Official figures revealed that Australian’s on average receive more than one-third of their daily nutrition from junk foods. 

In the first detailed information on Australia's eating habits available in 15 years, the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that on average, 35% of total daily energy was from the “discretionary foods” category. 

Discretionary foods are defined as: “Most sweet biscuits, cakes, desserts and pastries; processed meats and sausages; ice-cream and other ice confections; confectionary and chocolate; savoury pastries and pies; commercial burgers; commercially fried foods; potato chips, crisps and other fatty and/or salty snack foods; cream, butter and spreads which are high in saturated fats; sugar sweetened soft drinks and cordials, sports and energy drinks and alcoholic drinks.​”

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