This week Down Under

British MP warns exports to Australia will ‘go off’ in transit

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock

Related tags New zealand Australia

Britain’s departure from the European Union will not result in more food trade with Australia and New Zealand because products will “go off” en route, according to a senior politician.

Processed foods made in Britain “have to be sold pretty immediately​,” Emily Thornberry opined during a debate at a think tank in London. Many have viewed here comments as an election gaffe.

The British shadow home secretary said: “The truth is the majority of our trade takes place with the European Union. And things like our food industry, you can’t export it to Australia—it will go off​.”

Currently campaigning ahead of a June 8 general election, Thornberry also used the hustings to voice her concern over the ability to export various British food products, including poultry, further afield than Europe.

"You could hardly sell breaded chicken breasts, you know​,” she said. When questioned about sightings of New Zealand lamb in British supermarkets over the last 40 years, she clarified that raw meat would be more likely to survive the transit.

That's why I mean processed food, which is that much more complicated and you get ingredients from all over​,” she told the audience.

Despite Thornberry’s comments, the two countries engaged in bilateral food and beverage trade worth A$585m last year. According to official figures, Australia is Britain’s 12th biggest export market for the segment.

The first refrigerated shipment of lamb left New Zealand aboard the Dunedin​ in 1882, according to The Times​. With that voyage began the trade in meat and dairy that would transform the remote country’s economy. 

Britain continued to buy the bulk of New Zealand lamb and butter until European Community quotas and tariffs forced New Zealand to diversify.

More from Down Under…

Aussies looking to Asia for greens as oriental veggie sales spike

Pak choi and tom bok have been spiking in popularity in Australia, according to a report that found sales of Asian vegetables had jumped by almost a quarter last year.

Taking data from the year ending January 28, 2017, the Nielsen Homescan study also revealed that these and other greens, including bok choy, choy sum, gai ghoy and Chinese broccoli can be found in almost 35% of Australian homes.

Asian vegetables are purchased around five times per year on average, with shoppers spending A$2.92 [US$2.17] each time​,” said Sarah McKee, Nielsen’s associate director of client services.

Category growth has been boosted by an increase in all of the key consumer metrics over the past 12 months.

Households in New South Wales and Victoria are the biggest consumers of Asian vegetables, accounting for 64% of total dollar sales for the category. The greens are particularly popular among smaller households of 1-2 people, with this group representing just under half of sales.

The data also suggests that Asian vegetables have become a gateway for Australian supermarkets to increase sales through fruit and vegetable departments.

There is room for supermarkets to drive volume growth further by stocking a greater supply of Asian vegetables and attracting new consumers who wouldn’t typically shop outside of a grocery​,” McKee added.

Promoting the benefits of Asian vegetables in terms of ease of preparation, cooking and versatility would help to remove trial barriers for new consumers​.”

Best Aussie brews named at beer Oscars

Victorian brewery White Rabbit has had its white ale named champion domestic beer at the Australian International Beer Awards.

The award for champion international beer went to California-based brewery Firestone Walker for their Feral One beer.

The world’s biggest annual beer competition, the AIBA celebrated 25 years this year, attracting record participation with over 1,890 entries across a number of categories.

In other top honours, Stone & Wood Brewing in New South Wales took the award for champion large Australian brewery for the second year running, while Dagon Beverages of Myanmar was awarded the champion large international brewery gong.

First-time entrant Balter Brewing Company was awarded champion medium Australian brewery, while fellow Queensland entrant Green Beacon Brewing received the champion small Australian brewery prize.

As always the standard of beer entered was exceptional with the gold medal and trophy winning beers representing the absolute pinnacle of beer quality from around the globe​,” said head judge Brendan Varis, founder of WA’s Feral Brewing Co.

Related topics Policy Oceania Supply chain

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