Asahi Breweries of Japan acquires Cadbury Schweppes’ Australian soft drink business, renaming it Schweppes Australia.
The 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
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.
South 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.
Residents of Bundanoon, in the New South Wales Southern Highlands, vote to ban the sale of bottled water in their town, becoming the world’s first bottled water-free town. Additional drinking fountains were to be installed to make drinking water available to the public.
The 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.
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
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
The 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
Launched 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
The Anzac Biscuit recipe is protected under Australian legislation, policed by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Commercially made Anzac Biscuits must be made to the traditional recipe – a task which was too difficult for Subway. The chain ceased to sell the biscuits after a legal challenge from the Department. More
By 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.
The 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.
The 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.
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
The 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.”
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.
Two 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.
Thanks 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.
As 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
The 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.
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.
Slow 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.
The 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.
Barcelona-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’.
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
Based 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.
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.
The 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
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.
The 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.
The 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’.
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.
The 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.
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)”.
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
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.
Chains 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.
World 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.
As 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.