There is now a real Australian food – sauces, dressings, condiments and herbs that are a fusion of age-old Aboriginal staples with the techniques and foods of Australia’s settler and immigrant heritage – tasty and simple to use.
Australian food manufacturer and exporter of herbs and spices Ward McKenzie, and Robins Foods, who make the indigenous food range Outback Spirit, are collaborating to market Australia’s native foods to the world. Bush tomatoes and wattle seeds from desert Australia are the biggest ‘value creators’ in the native foods industry and other flavours include:
These are sold in 500 Coles supermarkets around Australia.
The companies predict the native foods industry, currently worth an estimated $10m per annum, will double turnover over the next five years as a result of the collaboration.
Robins Foods aims to create sustainable jobs for Aboriginal people through their partner Indigenous Australian Foods (IAF), an indigenous-owned supply chain and Ward McKenzie’s investment will strengthen the entire native foods value chain, says Robins Foods managing director Juleigh Robins.
Support from the Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) has also strengthened the bush foods industry and helped it grow. Its support is critical for improving the efficiencies and capacities of indigenous people who harvest native foods from the desert, and for introducing sustainable agricultural systems for these species. It has helped meet the rapidly increasing demand for traditional Aboriginal foods by helping secure year-round quality supplies.
Desert Knowledge CRC program manager Dr Craig James expects the partnership to increase the production capacity of desert Australia, home of the two bush foods currently driving the industry’s growth. “This business collaboration is good news for the indigenous people who harvest them.”
Robins Foods introduced Australian indigenous foods to the domestic and international food industry in 1986 by establishing native foods supply networks around Australia, particularly in remote indigenous communities.
The company promoted Aboriginal equity in the native food industry by developing non-profit procurement company IAF. It handed ownership over to IAF’s Aboriginal members in 2002.
IAF aims to create sustainable businesses and jobs for Aboriginal people. “The Ward McKenzie/Robins partnership will inject new skills, resources and market potential into existing relationships,” IAF chairperson John Collyer said.
INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIAN FOODS LTD (IAF)
IAF is an Aboriginal owned and controlled procurement company for native foods originating from both farm and wild harvest, to the Outback Spirit supply chain (which includes Robins Foods, Coles Supermarkets and others). IAF provides genuine Aboriginal equity in this emerging industry sector, and support for Aboriginal community participation. IAF has 8 Aboriginal community organisation members ranging in location from southern Victoria to the top end of Australia. Communities interested in participating in the Outback Spirit supply chain should contact IAF.
CONTACT: Wayne Street
POSTAL ADDRESS: PO Box 842 Gisborne Vic 3437
TELEPHONE: 03 5428 1488 or 0412 185 645
FAX: 03 5428 1722
Web site: under construction
COLES INDIGENOUS FOOD FUND
The Coles Indigenous Food Fund (CIFF) is supported by Coles Supermarkets, Robins Foods and Red Ochre. The fund supports Indigenous Communities and Indigenous-owned entities in the native foods industry supply chain. The CIFF also promotes demand for product in the bush foods sector. Through their support, the CIFF aims to give Indigenous people a share in the market and a stake in the industry. Applications can be made to the CIFF for funding of specific projects that assist Indigenous communities or businesses who are or who wish to become a part of the Native foods industry supply chain.
CONTACT: Chris Mara, Coles Myer Ltd
TELEPHONE: 03 9829 4141
FAX: 03 9829 5424