2009 Pollywaffle discontinued

Pollywaffle chocolate barsThe Pollywaffle chocolate bar was introduced in 1947 by Hoadley’s Chocolates. It consisted of marshmallow inside a chocolate coated wafer tube and became a longstanding favourite with generations of Australians.  Hoadleys were taken over by Rowntree, then by Nestlé, whose Kit Kat product ate into the Pollywaffle market share. It was discontinued in November 2009. More

2009 Meatless Mondays comes to Australia

Meatless Mondays was founded in the USA in 2003 and began as a public health awareness program in association with the John Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health. The Meatless Mondays movement highlights the health and environmental benefits of moderating meat consumption. It was launched in Australia, the eighth country to run the campaign, in December 2009. The idea now continues as Meat Free Mondays.

2009 South Australia bans plastic supermarket bags

Plastic supermarket bags bannedSouth Australia was the first Australian state to ban lightweight plastic supermarket bags, phasing in the new laws from 1 January to 4 May, 2009. The ban aimed to reduce the more than four billion plastic checkout bags Australians used each year. The Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory introduced similar bans in 2011. At the time of the South Australian ban, China, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Rwanda had already banned light weight plastic bags.

2009 Masterchef TV series airs

Masterchef host, Matt PrestonThe first of the Masterchef Australia TV series went to air on 27 April and kept viewers enthralled until 19 July. The reality TV/cooking show put contestants through a gruelling series of challenges and eliminations. It changed attitudes to cooking and even had 12 year-olds talking about “plating up”. This was to be the first of many Masterchef series. Food writer Matt Preston has been a judge and host of the series since its inception.

2008 Starbucks closes Australian stores

Starbucks closes 61 of their 85 Australian stores across Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, the Gold Coast, Melbourne, South Australia and Tasmania, saying they were under-performing and blaming “business challenges unique to the Australian market”. Meaning, perhaps, that we recognise good (and bad) coffee when we taste it. > The Age

2008 Bottled water gains market share

Bottled water a litter problem

An AC Nielson survey in April 2008 showed that still water had a 9.9% market share of non-alcoholic ready-to-drink products, with  mineral waters having a further 2.2% share. Bottled water was one of the fastest growing beverages over the previous six years with average growth of 10% per annum. More

2008 GM crop moratorium lifted

The NSW and Victorian governments lifted the moratorium on the planting of genetically modified canola early in 2008. With GM canola accounting for  70 per cent of the global canola market, many Australian growers saw the move as enhancing their competitiveness.  More

2008 International Year of the Potato

Year of the Potato logoThe United Nations declared 2008 the International Year of the Potato, to focus world attention on the role that the potato can play in providing food security. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics there are, on average, about 190,000 square kilometres of potatoes under crop every year worldwide. The potato remains Australia’s favourite vegetable, consumed mainly as chips.  More

2008 Urbanspoon launches in Australia

Urbanspoon LogoLaunched by three partners in the USA in 2006, Urbanspoon provided an online forum for peer-reviewing of restaurants. The service expanded to Australia in 2008 and is still the leading referral site for the industry. Urbanspoon and its competitors put restaurant rating in the hands of customers, rather than professional reviewers. More

2008 Australia shopping with plastic

Shopping with plasticBy 2008, approximately 13 million credit cards  and 28 million debit cards were on issue in Australia. Visa said the Debit Card was the fastest growing consumer product ever released by their company.  By 2005, Debit Cards were used an average of 166 times per user annually. Shopping with plastic had become a way of life.


2007 25th anniversary of “Good Living”

Good Living food fad - raspberry vinegarThe occasion prompted a feature wherein several of the Good Living writers over the years reflected on changes over the past 25 years. David Dale went so far as to list the various food fads from 1982 (raspberry vinegar) to 2007 (organic everything). Not all readers agreed with his chronology, but most of us remember these culinary milestones, including sticky date pudding, pork belly and scallops, mushroom risotto and caesar salad.


2007 Locavore is word of the year

The locavore eats localThe term “locavore was named the Word of the Year for 2007 in the Oxford American Dictionary. Locavore was coined by a group of women in San Francisco, who encouraged people to eat food produced within a 100 mile radius of where they lived. Runners up for Word of the Year included: cougar: an older woman who romantically pursues younger men and upcycling: the transformation of waste materials into something more useful or valuable.

2007 Australia’s first truffle festival

Black truffle Although Australia’s first farmed black truffle was harvested in 1999 in Tasmania, Australia’s first truffle festival took place in an outer suburb of Perth – Mundaring. The truffles came from Manjimup, 300km or so to the south. The festival ran successfully for six years and in 2012 was named among the top five truffle festivals of the world. In 2013, though,  insurance issues brought the organisers into conflict with their State Government sponsors and the  festival was cancelled.  More

2007 Kevin Rudd plugs Iced Vo Vo

Iced Vo Vo biscuitThe Iced Vo Vo is a sweet biscuit first made by Arnott’s around 1904.  It has two strips of pink icing and a strip of jam on top and is covered in desiccated coconut. Sales of the biscuit were boosted when Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, referred to it in his victory speech after the 2007 election, saying: “Friends, tomorrow, the work begins. You can have a strong cup of tea if you want, even an Iced VoVo on the way through. But the celebration stops there.”

2007 Supermarket chains control petrol

By 2007 Woolworths and Coles controlled more than 60% of Australia’s petrol stations. However, an investigation by the ACCC concluded that the shopper docket program that offered discounts in return for grocery sales increased, rather than reduced, competition in the grocery industry and offered a consumer benefit.  The owners of the two grocery giants continue to control a high percentage of retail in Australia.

2006 Food books are big sellers

Food books sellTwo million food books, worth almost sixty million dollars, were sold in Australia this year (Neilsen Bookscan). Writing about food and drink in fiction and non fiction formats makes up a significant proportion of the books written, published, sold and read each year in Australia and other parts of the English speaking world.

2005 Cupcake craze hits Australia

The cupcake craze went globalThanks to the popularity of the American TV series Sex and the City, these highly decorated little cakes, the signature product of New York city’s Magnolia Bakery, became objects of desire. The cupcake craze swept the world and took hold in Australia. By 2013, business pundits were predicting its demise, but some businesses are hanging on.


2005 Adelaide Food Summit

Adelaide Convention Centre, site of the Adelaide Food Summit

The Adelaide Food Summit on The Future of Food was held between 25-26 October as a Tasting Australia event and made a declaration on the future of food.  It was signed by numerous chefs, producers, food media people and the odd politician and asserted the importance of food issues for society. More

2005 Lamb for Australia Day

Sam promotes lamb for Australia DayAs a response to declining lamb sales, the Australian  Meat and Livestock Corporation recruited former Aussie Rules footballer and media personality Sam Kekovich to be their “Lambassador“. Sam’s first 90-second diatribe condemned vegetarians as un-Australian. Annual rants have continued to promote lamb for Australia Day, resulting in a spike in lamb sales in the week leading up to the national holiday. More

2004 First Canberra farmers’ market

First Canberra Farmers' MarketThe first Canberra farmers’ market, the Capital Region Farmers’ market, was first held in March 2004 and was established without any financial support or grants from governments or other sources. It started with 18 stalls and some 1,000 customers, and has since grown to more than 100 stalls per week and over 5,000 customers.

2004 BYO in decline in Victoria

In 1994, there were 2285 BYO permits in Victoria; in 2004 there were only 1514. The relaxation of liquor laws meant more licensed cafés and restaurants – with hefty corkage charges if you did want to take a favourite bottle with you.

2004 First Terra Madre conference

Terra Madre logoSlow Food held its first Terra Madre conference in Turin.  The conference brings together food producers, cooks and media from around the world to promote the cause of good, clean and fair food. The event happens every two years. While originally a stand-alone event, it has now been combined with Salone del Gusto, an event open to the public that showcases traditional produce.

2004 Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me

Super Size Me posterThe American documentary film Super Size Me by director Morgan Spurlock aimed to expose the evils of fast food. The film tracked the dire consequences of eating three McDonalds meals a day for 30 consecutive days. Fast food retailers countered with the argument that their food was meant to be part of an overall balanced diet, not a complete way of eating.

2003 Mo Vida rides Spanish wave

Mo VidaBarcelona-born Frank Camorra opened Mo Vida in laneway in Melbourne, with tapas as bar food and more substantial plates to share. The restaurant was named after the Mo Vida movement in music and the arts that erupted in Spain when the dictator Franco died in 1975. It claims to ‘embrace the spirit, the fun, the essence of the great bars of Spain’.

2003 El Bulli named world’s best

el Bulli posterThe el Bulli restaurant in Roses, Spain, under chef Ferran Adrià, was named best restaurant in the world by Restaurant magazine. El Bulli remained in the top three until its closure in July 2011 and claimed the top spot five times in that period.

2003 GM canola approved

In 2003 the Federal Office of the Gene Technology Regulator approvedGM  canola for cultivation in Australia. It concluded that GM modified canola varieties produced by Bayer and by Monsanto, posed no greater risk to human health or the environment than conventionally bred strains. However, most State governments imposed a moratorium on GM crops pending further investigation. More

2003 Juice bars latest craze

Juice bars like BoostJuice bars, such as Boost Juice and Viva Juice proliferated in major cities, selling exotic juice mixes and smoothies. “Do you want wheat grass with that?”  Young urban adults wanted a fast meal substitute with a health benefit and juice bars filled the bill.

2003 Four ‘n Twenty Australian again

Four n' Twenty, the great Australian piePatties bought Four ‘n Twenty, Herbert Adams and Nanna’s from Simplot, putting the iconic pie brands back in Australian hands and flying in the face of a trend towards foreign ownership of Australian food and beverage manufacturing.

2002 Food Standards Code introduced

The Food Standards Code set the standards for food labelling and composition, food safety and hygiene standards and fit-out of food premises as well as primary production standards for all States and Territories throughout Australia and New Zealand.

2002 Paleo Diet developed

The Paleo Diet by Loren CordainBased on the (false) premise that humans haven’t evolved fast enough to cope with foods introduced after the end of the Stone Age, the Paleo Diet is based on concepts first explored in 1975 by gastroenterologist Walter Voegtlin. The publication of a 2002 book The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain popularised the idea of eating meat, fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds and excluding all grains, dairy, salt and added sugar.


2002 Coles Bay bans plastic shopping bags

Coles Bay has a permanent population of around 200, and is located on the edge of the Freycinet National Park and Wineglass Bay in Tasmania. To provide a safer environment for the area’s wildlife and marine life, the town became the first in Australia to ban non-biodegradable plastic shopping  bags at checkouts.

2002 delicious. magazine launched

Precious spelling (with a lower case d and a full stop) hasn’t prevented this ABC-backed magazine from proving a success. Benefiting from promotion on the ABC television network and contributions from cooking show personalities, delicious. Magazine challenged Donna Hay in the new magazine wars.

2002 The GI Diet popularised

GI Diet by Rick GallopThe concept of the glycemic index was developed by Canadian Dr David Jenkins in 1980-81.  His research showed that some starchy foods could have similar effects on blood sugar to simple sugars, depending how quickly they were absorbed.  Although other books preceded his, Rick Gallop popularised the GI Diet as a means to weight loss with a series of books, the first being published in 2002.   More

2002 Gastronomy degree introduced

The Graduate degree program in Gastronomy (which lead to a Master of Arts in Gastronomy) was a collaboration between the Le Cordon Bleu academy and The University of Adelaide.  Headed by Barbara Santich, the Gastronomy Degree catered to people looking for a gastronomy-related career in hospitality, media or tourism. The course is no longer offered.

2001 Donna Hay magazine launched

Donna_HayThe former food editor at Murdoch Magazine’s Marie Claire, Donna Hay had a trademark style of simple recipes and clean, minimalist photography. When Murdoch’s denied her the opportunity to open a magazine under her own name, she did it herself. Donna Hay Magazine was the first of a new wave of food magazines.

2001 Drive-through coffee

Muzz Buzz drive-through coffee logoMuzz Buzz, a drive-through coffee chain, was founded by Craig Muzzeroll, who opened the first outlet in Belmont, Perth. The idea came from the United States where drive-through coffee (although not espresso) was well-established.


2001 Aldi arrives in Australia

Aldi brandThe German chain Aldi opened its first store in Sydney in 2001 and by 2004 had 54 stores across the eastern states. Aldi claimed that its proposition of ‘smarter shopping’ was supported by having no artificial colours in any produce, a high proportion of local produce and everyday low prices rather than fluctuating ‘specials’.

2001 Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation

Fast Food Nation posterEric Schlosser’s book Fast Food Nation:The Dark Side of the All-American Meal explores the global influence of the American fast food industry. It first appeared in serialised form in Rolling Stone magazine and was later made into a film.

2001 Franklins collapses

The Franklins group was broken up and parcels of stores sold off to various bidders – including Woolworths and Coles. 86 stores across New South Wales were sold to South African retailer Pick ‘n Pay, which also bought the Franklins name. New stores were subsequently opened, both as owned stores and franchises. In 2010, all stores were sold to Metcash for A$215 million, to become part of the IGA chain.

2001 – 2008 Drought in Australia

DroughtThe worst drought in living memory hit Australia’s south east, impoverishing farmers and increasing food prices. The drought increased the concern about climate change and water management, particularly in the Murray-Darling basin.


2000 Obesity on the rise

Obesity on the riseThe 1999-2000 Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study indicated over seven million, or 60% of adult Australians aged 25 years and over were overweight. Of these, over two million (21%) were obese. 67%  of men and 52% of women in Australia were now overweight or obese.

2000 Gene Technology Act

The Australian Federal Government passes the Gene Technology Act in December to regulate the research, use and release of GMOs in Australia.  Its object was “to protect the health and safety of people, and the environment, by identifying risks posed by or as a result of gene technology, and by managing those risks through regulating certain dealings with genetically modified organisms (GMOs)”.

2000 GST introduced

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) was introduced, providing another incentive to eat at home. Food for human consumption was exempt, but take-away and restaurant food incurred the 10% GST. It was another blow to the restaurant industry where many were forced to absorb some of the price increases to maintain custom. More

2000 Australians eat out

The ABS Household Expenditure Survey (2000) found that the average household spent $127 a week on foods and non-alcoholic beverages, with meals eaten away from home occupying the largest percentage of this spending (26.77%). Takeaway and fast foods accounted for 55.88% ($19 per week) of all meals when Australians eat out.

2000 Starbucks launched in Australia.

Starbucks launched in AustraliaChains like Starbucks and Gloria Jeans were to coffee what the Eurovision song contest is to rock and roll. Their menus contained strange, sweet concoctions like GJ’s Arnott’s Tim Tam Chocolate Chiller or Starbuck’s White Chocolate Mocha Frappucino. When Starbucks launched in Australia the chain enjoyed a brief flurry of popularity, especially with the teen set who wanted a clubby atmosphere.

2000 World School Milk Day initiated

World School Milk Day logoWorld School Milk Day is organised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and is celebrated in over 30 countries on the fourth Wednesday in September. Dairy Australia says it provides an opportunity for the international community to focus on the importance of drinking milk at school and its health benefits for growing children.

1999-2000 The Millennium Bug

The Millennium BugAs clocks prepared to tick over from 1999 to 2000, the Millennium Bug became big news. In the fear that computer systems around the world would fail, some people began stockpiling food. In the event, aeroplanes did not fall out of the air, banks did not close down and, apart from a few minor glitches, life went on as usual.