Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Ethical Food Shopping

What do we want to achieve?

We want to have a low impact on the planet when buying and consuming food. Things that are important to us are:
  • to buy food produced locally; ideally Victorian, but definitely grown and/or raised in Australia;
  • try to only buy food from companies that are 100 percent Australian owned;
  • identifying which companies are environmentally and socially responsible; and supporting these companies.

Why is this important to us?

“A typical Melbourne shopping basket has travelled a staggering 70,000 kilometres – equivalent to almost two trips around the world. By purchasing an orange grown in Mildura rather than California you reduce food miles from 12,879 km to 567 km.” 

We think that buying Australian is a good thing. We live on an Island with a huge range of climates and can grow almost any food; so buying food from overseas seems more than a little crazy! 
We are using the Shop Ethical! Guide as a starting point to find out which companies are environmentally and socially responsible.

Two examples of why this is not straight forward...

Identifying companies that are 100 percent Australian owned is lot harder than we first thought. For example we buy Edgell Canned Chickpeas. We know that the Chickpeas are grown in Australia and the product is 'Made in Australia'. Therefore we are supporting Australian farmers and buying Australian. Shop Ethical! gives Edgell's parent company a tick and they are a signed up to the Australia Packaging Covenant.
However Edgell is owned by Simplot which is one of the largest food and agribussiness companies in America, so a cross when it comes to being an Australian owned company.

We've been buying SunRice microwavable rice cups - the perfect side dish to a reheated curry or home made stew. We know SunRice is Australian owned and the rice is grown in Australia (one of us has even been to their rice fields). No problem so far. BUT while the packets of uncooked rice are made in Australia - the rice cups are not. They are actually a product of Thailand. We assume this means the rice is grown here, sent to Thailand, processed and then sent back. That's a lot of unnecessary food miles!

So what's next?

Back to the wonders of google and the world wide web to find out more... 
and we'd love your comments on these examples or others.

  • Where do you draw the line?
  • What should be the most important consideration when buying food?

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