Tag Archives: food

Tackling the Food Crisis in Australia

By Nicola Heath

The statistics around food waste are startling. Globally, we waste around one third of all food produced, which equates to a staggering 1.3 billion tonnes. At the same time, one in ten people on the planet go hungry.

“In the field with farmers, at processing plants, and in supermarkets, homes and restaurants – right across that food production, processing and consumption supply chain, we’re wasting 30 percent of food. In Australia, it’s 40 percent,” says Professor Andy Lowe, Director of Food Innovation at the University of Adelaide.

According to some estimates, that equates to more than four million tonnes of waste discarded each year, which costs the Australian economy $20 billion per annum.

“Up to 2.2 million tonnes of food is wasted from the commercial and industrial sectors, resulting in significant waste disposal charges and lost product costs to business,” states the National Food Waste Strategy — a 2017 government report that aims to reduce food waste in Australia by 50 per cent by 2030.

The environmental impact of food waste is considerable too. Some food waste gets composted, but most goes to landfill where it breaks down and releases greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The report states that: “7.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent will be generated from food waste disposed of in 2014–15 over the life of its decay.”

How to reduce food waste

There are a number of practical strategies businesses can adopt to reduce waste in the food services sector.

“Shorten the links in the supply chain to reduce food waste,” says Lowe. Additionally, buy from markets which are close to the source of production or grow your own where possible.

Poor stock management, storage, and handling practices are drivers of food waste in the hospitality sector, as highlighted in the National Food Waste Strategy. Developing limited menus with fewer options is one way to reduce waste, says Assistant Professor in International Studies at the University of Canberra, Bethaney Turner,

“Being aware of what you’ve got, keeping it visible and rotating stock are keys ways in which we can…reduce waste.”

Another option is to reduce serving sizes. Nearly 30 percent of Australians leave food on their plate when they dine out.

“It’s okay to have extravagant meals every now and then but we have to think carefully about not over-ordering or over-buying,” says Turner.

Professor Lowe would like to see the revival of ‘doggie bags’, where diners take home leftovers from a restaurant. “Allowing customers to take home food that the seller considers safe for consumption…[is] a significant step to help reduce food waste,” he says.

Some eateries address health concerns by packaging leftovers with a sticker providing information about food safety guidelines.

Solving a global problem

Food rescue charities such as FoodBank and OzHarvest collect surplus food from businesses and events and redistributes it to people in need.

Reducing food waste is achievable but requires systematic change, says Turner. “We need structures that help us repurpose leftover food. We need good composting structures and organic waste disposal, and we need people to think carefully about how much they’re buying.”

The good news is that individuals, small businesses, and larger organisations can make small changes to their behaviour to be part of the solution to this global problem.

How Digital Platforms Influence Dining

Today’s busy customer expects restaurant-quality meals ordered in a few clicks on their phone and delivered to their door. Tall order, anyone?

Business owner Kate Toon says having food delivered to her door (or hotel) is a huge bonus. “I travel a lot and UberEats gives me a chance to try something new. As a vegetarian, there are so many options on the website.”

Recent research by finder.com.au found Australians spend $2.6 billion annually on having food delivered through companies like Menulog, UberEats, Deliveroo and Foodora. Aussies clearly love the convenience and choice offered by these companies. It’s also commonplace to look up a restaurant and read reviews before choosing to eat there.

So, how do these digital platforms affect restaurant owners?


Read Google and TripAdvisor reviews


Many people look up restaurants on TripAdvisor or read Google reviews before making a reservation. Instagram is also a big influencer for millennials. Research shows one in three millennials avoid eating at restaurants that are not active on Instagram.

According to ReviewTrackers, 63 percent of people check Google reviews before visiting a business while 94 percent of customers avoid a company if they’ve read negative reviews.

Make sure you keep an eye on your listings and regularly search for any unhappy customers who may be sharing negative experiences, relating to your business, online. Quickly addressing these reviews can turn an unhappy customer into a raving fan. By proactively acknowledging their complaint online and replying reflects positively on your business.

Tip: If social media overwhelms you, take it slow. Either hire one of your tech-savvy employees to #hashtag your social content, or learn how to do it yourself. Every 28 seconds, someone tags an Australian hotel, restaurant, or bar on Instagram. Don’t miss valuable social media traffic that can turn into actual customers.


Delivering food to customer’s door


Food delivery platforms like UberEats, Menulog and others have transformed the whole dining experience for customers in Australia. Even hatted restaurants like Sake allow customers to order through UberEats.

According to Morgan Stanley, more people will order takeaway food online by 2025 and the industry will be worth $4.2 billion. Busy customers are demanding more convenience and high food quality, as working hours become longer.

In Australia, UberEats, Menulog and other delivery companies have a list of restaurants on their websites. Customers order their meals through an app or the website.  The restaurant receives the order, makes the food and packs it ready for delivery. UberEats’ drivers take the food to the customer’s home or office while Menulog has restaurants make the deliveries themselves.


Get new customers


For Nerissa, owner of Lankan Tucker in Brunswick West, UberEats has brought more customers to their business since they signed up less than a year ago. “Despite the large commission (35 percent) charged by UberEats, we’ve managed to reach a lot more people who may not have found us otherwise,” she says.

“We’ve had a few issues with food going missing from bags or food going cold, which are beyond our control. Overall, the biggest benefit of being on UberEats has been more customers,” says Nerissa.

Running a restaurant is tough. Keeping up to date with what your customers want, and continuously looking for ways to increase sales and profits will keep you in business.

Digital platforms might be a way to reach more customers. But you also need to prepare for drivers turning up late, dropping off multiple orders affecting food temperature, high commissions affecting profit margins and kitchen staff stretched during busy times.

Like any other method, this approach needs careful analysis, monitoring and rapid problem solving to keep on top of results.

By Rashida Tayabali

Cooking with Pressman’s Original Australian Apple Cider

A perfectly balanced and refreshing drink for any occasion, the clean, crisp taste of Pressman’s Original All Australian Apple Cider makes for an excellent food pairing. With fresh apple notes and just a hint of sweetness, it complements a wide variety of foods, especially those difficult-to-match dishes where wine just doesn’t seem to work.

Cooking with cider can enhance the pairing even further, lending a smooth and unusual finish to both savoury and sweet recipes.

This pork shoulder dish is our ultimate showcase of cider in cooking. Deeply savoury and warming, with lingering sweetness and a burst of fresh apple flavour, it takes minimal effort and puts a sophisticated and delicious spin on the traditional roast. It’s the perfect match for a chilled bottle of Pressman’s.

Pressman’s Cider-Roasted Pork Shoulder with Apples

Serves 8

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Total cooking time: 3 hours

This recipe can be doubled or tripled to serve more people. If increasing the quantities, cook all the meat together in one pan, and the apples in a separate dish with some of the pan juices from the meat spooned over before roasting.

Ingredients:

1 x 2kg boned pork shoulder, skin on

1 x 330ml bottle Pressman’s Original All Australian Apple Cider

500ml (2 cups) chicken stock

2tbs brown sugar

8 garlic cloves, peeled and bruised

8 red eating apples

1 bunch fresh sage leaves

3tbs creme fraiche

Crispy fried sage leaves (optional), mashed potato and steamed green beans to serve

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 160℃. Score the pork skin all over and rub it with a generous sprinkle of salt. Tie the meat with twine to hold its shape while roasting, and put into a large roasting pan (it needs to be large enough to hold the apples later).
  2. Mix the cider, stock and sugar together, then carefully pour into the pan around pork, avoiding the skin. Scatter the garlic into the pan, then place in oven for two hours.
  3. While the pork cooks, prepare the apples by scoring a line around the middle of each one with a sharp knife, just cutting through the skin. When the two hours is up, add the sage and apples to the pan, tucking the sage down into the cooking liquid.
  4. Roast for a further 45 minutes to an hour, until the meat is very soft and pulls away easily when tested with a fork.
  5. Remove the apples from the dish and set aside to a warm place. Scoop out the sage and garlic and discard, and remove the pork. Pour the juices into a saucepan, then return the pork to the pan and increase oven heat to 230℃. Roast the pork until the skin crackles, approximately 15 minutes, then remove from oven and rest for 15 minutes.
  6. While the meat rests, simmer the pan juices until reduced by about half, then remove from heat and whisk through the creme fraiche. Season to taste. Serve the meat with roasted apples, mash and green beans, with the reduced sauce, shards of crackling and fried sage leaves to finish.

By Emily Rhodes

How Hyper-Regional works for Food

Hyper-regional foods are hot right now, and smart food businesses have been quick to get on trend. In regional Victoria, one small town has discovered that going hyper-regional is not only good for business, but also for the town’s economy by attracting local, and tourism dollars.

Taking hyper-regional to town

The historic town of Clunes in Victoria is known for its books.  The only internationally recognised Booktown in Australia, the annual Clunes Booktown Festival has played a key role in boosting the local economy and putting this little village on the map. But it’s the use of local produce and storytelling that has turned a sense of place into a real business asset for the town’s small businesses.

What is hyper-regional food?

Hyper-regional food is just as it sounds: local produce and recipes that are core to the identity of a place. In Georgia in the U.S.—where John Pemberton invented Coca-Cola—the 500-something brands represented under the Coca-Cola umbrella are all icons. In the Australian town of Clunes, its produce is grown from surrounding farms and wineries that are becoming ubiquitous with eating in the small town.

Hyper Regional Foods trends

Fresh food

Surrounded by farms, the cafés and pubs in Clunes have access to the types of fresh produce you’d expect to find in a regional area.  There is the local farmer who has turned butcher to supply locally grown lamb and beef.  The beekeeper—whose beehives are on properties throughout the district—produces honey with flavours unique to each field. There’s even a peanut farmer who makes Clunes’ favourite peanut butter.  However, what is unexpected is the way businesses take advantage of the stories behind the food to create a unique sense of place for customers eating in their establishments.  

It’s in the history

Businesses understand that the hyper-regional trend is about the combination of fresh produce, local history and your ability to tell a tale.

Local winegrower Jane Lesock of Mt. Beckworth Wines has made hyper-regional her business.  Offering locally grown wines from her nearby vineyard provides people with a true taste of Clunes and its surrounding countryside.

“We were one of the first wine producers to take our cellar door into the village,” says Lesock, whose retail outlet recently celebrated 10 years of business.

“People like to know where the grapes are grown and how they are produced, but they also want a story as well.”

Mt. Beckworth Wines makes sure their story is front and centre, naming their collection after family members. Each sale comes with a tale, ensuring customers remember the wine long after the bottle is empty.

Putting the hype in hyper-regional

“Trends come and go,” says Matt O’Kelly, proprietor of O’Hara’s @ Clunes Bakery, known locally for their own custard kringle and speciality chunky beef pies.

“It’s hard for a small business to really create the momentum to take advantage of those trends alone.  But when all the traders feature local food or recipes, it’s easier for us to work together to promote that locally and to tourists.

“In Clunes, the traders do this through our Clunes Tourist Development Association, town websites and media releases.

“Now when people come to our bakery and ask for a pie, they ask for a Clunes pie.”

Trends that work for you

Whether the hyper-regional food choice on your menu is produced or grown locally, or is simply a recipe with a tale, make sure you can leverage off it to drive traffic to your hotel, restaurant or café. Why? Because the most important part of being on trend is making sure that the trend works for you.

About the Author

Lana de Kort is a published author and business writer with over 20 years experience working with industry, commerce and community.  In 2014 she co-founded a network of over 21 writers across Australia.

 

Break Through the Red Tape

The first rule of food production and service is safety.

It is an issue that is treated seriously and severely in Australia, with recalls, fines and even heavier penalties handed out when the standards are breached.

This can be a lot to take on board for businesses, with governing bodies existing at all three tiers of government.

This article aims to cut through the red tape so you can ensure you are properly protected.

Food safety standards in Australia

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is the governing body for food and beverage safety guidelines in our country.

FSANZ covers food safety programs, practices and general requirements, premises and equipment, and programs for food service to vulnerable persons.

The guidelines for the ‘Food Safety Practices and General Requirements’ and ‘Food Premises and Equipment’ sections are mandatory for all food businesses. These guidelines can all be read in the Safe Food Australia document, which is currently under review.

It is also important to note that charity and community groups, temporary events and home-based businesses are exempt from some of these guidelines, so it’s important for them to check with their local enforcement agency before serving customers.

But while this is the blanket body across the nation, it is important to note that states and territories have their own governing bodies and guidelines as well.

Keep up to date what with the legalities in running a hospitality business

 

How it varies from state to state

ACT

Canberra is subject to the federal FSANZ guidelines.

New South Wales

There are two acts of legislation to consider here, the Food Act 2003 (NSW) and Food Regulation 2015.

The Food Act 2003 (NSW) enforces FSANZ guidelines and then designs, and monitors food safety schemes under the Food Regulation 2015 for the higher risk industries.

Northern Territory

Like the ACT, the NT operates under FSANZ guidelines.

Queensland

Safe Food Queensland manages operational aspects, and it is important to familiarise yourself with the Food Act 2006, the Food Regulation 2006, the Food Production (Safety) Act 2000 and the Food Production (Safety) Regulation 2014. Also check with local governments, which may have their own food safety regulations.

South Australia

The Food Safety and Nutrition Branch (FSNB) of South Australia Health is the governing body for guidelines here. It operates under two acts of legislation: the Food Act 2001 (SA) and the Food Regulations 2002, as well as FSANZ. FSNB works in tandem with other government agencies and local governments to ensure maximum safety.

Tasmania

The guidelines on the Apple Isle are perhaps the most stringent in the country, with a clear mandate to not only ensure safety but protect the state’s reputation. A raft of legislation needs to be considered here, including; The Primary Produce Safety Act 2011, Primary Produce Safety (Egg) Regulations 2014, and Primary Produce Safety (Meat and Poultry) Regulations 2014. Guidelines for dairy, seafood, and seed sprouts also need to be recognised.

Victoria

The Food Act 1984 provides the regulatory framework in Victoria. Health Victoria works with Federal and local governments to ensure consistency across the board.

Western Australia

Out west, the State Government boasts that they have the most comprehensive food safety legislation in the country, under the Food Act 2008. It covers 19 different issues for consumers and many, many topics for businesses covered under seven banners. Heavy reading, but as close to watertight as you can get in this country.

Where businesses have fallen afoul of the guidelines

The legislated rules for food safety are more than just guidelines—they carry heavy penalties if not followed.

Brisbane restaurant West End Garden was slugged with a $37,500 fine in August last year for multiple breaches.

Produce is also vulnerable, with 80 cases of salmonella in 2016 linked to the consumption of rockmelons.

There were also fears of a national shortage of garlic bread early this year after a recall of 11 of George Weston Foods products was issued.

In addition to these instances, bread rolls and mango drinks have also been recalled from supermarket shelves in recent years.

FSANZ lists the problems that can cause contamination as microbial contamination, labeling errors, foreign matter, chemical or other contaminants, undeclared allergens, biotoxins and other faults.

It definitely pays to be vigilant about food safety legislation.

About the Author

Josh Alston is a journalist, editor and copywriter who has worked for several daily, community and regional newspapers across the Queensland seaboard for 12 years. In this time he has covered news, sport and community issues and has been published in major daily newspapers and nationally online for breaking news. Josh presently works as a freelance reporter writing for clients including the Victorian Government, AGL Energy and a host of others.

 

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