fair suck of the sav . . .

Food fight: Big Food vs Good Food. Home-made work lunch made from Good Fish tuna, farmers market salad selections, free range egg, Bulgarian sheeps milk feta, Spanish [naturally] green olives stuffed with almonds.
Food fight: Big Food vs Good Food. Home-made work lunch made from Good Fish tuna, farmers market salad selections, free range egg, Bulgarian sheeps milk feta, Spanish [naturally] green olives stuffed with almonds.
When I spend the cash I worked hard to earn on food that disappoints I get angry… When I realised the pretty green hue of the olives I had been buying was fake I thought “fair suck of the sav“… “sav” being short for saveloy, a type of sausage. And it’s not rude. It’s an Australian saying that means “give us a fair go”.

It reminded me of the importance of continuing my ongoing food due diligence, and led me to spend some time in that playground of information: Google, where I do regular home schooling in what’s good to eat.

Why do I care about good food? Because Big Food and Supermarkets no matter how high their profits are this year, aim to make higher profits next year, the year after and so on. Where do the profits come from? The money we spend. I don’t know about you but my income is modest and I don’t earn more and more money each year.

It’s gratifying to see food issues get airtime. In Australia there’s been a egg campaign (“that ain’t no way to treat a lady”, pork & bacon awareness (“consumers are unaware more than 75 per cent of bacon sold in Australia is made from imported product”), seafood labelling, as well as the packaged food labelling campaign that’s ramped up since the frozen berries recall of Creative Gourmet and Nanna’s frozen berries from China putting consumers at risk of contracting Hepatitis A and John Bull tinned tuna imported from Thailand linked with suspected Scromboid poisoning.

The call for fairer food is gaining momentum. Particularly when people are getting sick. While in Australia there is outrage and call for food labelling reform as industry, government and lobbyist are fighting over what’s appropriate & fair, consumers can make a big difference with very slight changes in their thought processes and behaviours.

Food fight: Big Food vs Good Food. Home-made yoghurt, home-made muesli, Omaha Organic NZ frozen blueberries, peach from Sariwa farmers market stall who sourced them from the grower at Orange, NSW.
Food fight: Big Food vs Good Food. Home-made yoghurt, home-made muesli, Omaha Organic NZ frozen blueberries, peach from Sariwa farmers market stall who sourced them from the grower at Orange, NSW.

Big companies spend more money to make more money. Their profits and executive salaries take them out of the real world realms of their target consumers. Wiki states Pepsico’s gross profit for 2014 at US$38.33 billion and “while CEO of PepsiCo in 2011, [Indra] Nooyi earned a total compensation of $17 million which included a base salary of $1.6 million, a cash bonus of $2.5 million, pension value and deferred compensation of $3 million“.

Big Food and Supermarkets don’t care about us. They want our dollars, and they spend millions to get them. Small food producers also want us to buy their product but those sellers at the farmers markets who have often made a 10 hour round trip to be there are more likely to be doing it for love as well as money.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
Dr. Seuss, The Lorax


48 thoughts on “fair suck of the sav . . .

    1. Thank you. It’s wonderful how many of my blogging world are likeminded. I know I’m often preaching to the converted but it’s a great forum for exchange of ideas and information.

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    2. With the Governments hands tied with treaties….no new solution to labelling will be forthcoming.
      The Buy Australian Logo is an Australian Authenticity Logo and Truth in Labelling….Big business fears its transparency and genuine Australian Producers and Manufacturers can claim back their market advantage.

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  1. I couldn’t agree more with all the views expressed here. Other than my strange inaugural trip to Costco the other day!!! I tend to give supermarkets the flick, except to buy the following: Toilet paper, cleaning products and wash powder, unsalted butter, Cobram EV olive oil when on ‘spesh’, Wallaby baker’s flour in bulk and other small oddities- maybe cream. The duopoly of the Big 2, is frightening- exposed very well in this article which you have probably read.http://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2014/august/1406815200/malcolm-knox/supermarket-monsters.

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    1. Thank you. I hadn’t read that article although I’d read others that cover a similar range of topics. It says it all really. If consumers and suppliers are influenced purely by price and convenience we’re ultimately colluding with the big corporates without understanding their end goal renders us a captive audience.
      Depending on available time and money, like you I simply do the best I can. I haven’t shopped at a Coles for years and utilise Woolies only when necessary but still more often than I’d like although the frequency, length and nature of the lists are much different than they once were.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely. During post-holiday January-early February when we had no routine at all I was doing my best buying free range, organic from the supermarket but our diet and feeling of wellbeing suffered. After the first farmers market meal we remarked how bright and energised it left us in contrast. We pay more, eat less and feel better.

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      1. Funny too, how the body becomes accustomed to the ‘feel’ of fresh fruit and vegetables, and lets you know very clearly when you’re not doing right by it! Excuse me, have to go and take my home made pies out of the oven…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Well said, EllaD. My distrust of large anything is growing by the year. Wish we could have farmer’s markets every week in every locality. I want to go but by the time I realise there is one on somewhere nearby, it’s next week and I’ve missed it. 😦

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    1. I’m truly blessed to live within walking distance of a good weekly Saturday farmers market and a short drive from a weekly Sunday farmers market. That said I still sometimes miss out but have been trying to stockpile what & when I can anticipate our absence. I know when we move to the country I won’t have the luxury of it conveniently on the doorstep once a week. I’ll have to plot and plan them! Crazy huh. But even now I have an assortment of preferred non-city suppliers that I buy from when I’m near or online.

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  3. The few times a year I am forced into a supermarket for food, I only shop the outsides. You are so right.. there should be panic about the sources of our food, but so much of this noise is about jumping on the band wagon. I can’t believe australia does not make enough bacon for its people, it is like the chicken that america sends to china for the cheaper workers to make into chicken nuggets and send back wrapped and packaged in carboard boxes, hopefully frozen. Way too many steps for something so go wrong. Insanity! Surely an american factory could do that! It is more than terrifying.. c

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    1. I learned to supermarket shop on the outsides when I worked as a Jenny Craig weight loss consultant! and do it to this day. If I need anything from the middle, I dive in and out.
      Australia exports so much of its great produce, and imports other because its financially viable to do so, just like the American-Chinese chicken nuggets… which always makes me think of the Barenaked Ladies’ song lyrics “Chickity China the Chinese chicken, You have a drumstick and your brain stops tickin’:)

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    1. Thank you 🙂 I’m on a roll! I have a few more WIP posts in similar vein… writing them helps me sort out my thoughts, and the comments & suggestions add to my understanding.

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  4. 75% of the bacon made in Aus. is made from imported product. Does that mean the pigs are brought in to be slaughtered or that the carcases are imported. Is that because pigs aren’t bred in the high quantities needed? I’d have thought someone could make a killing (unfortunate term) breeding pigs for bacon there rather than possibly importing disease.
    I see a programme about Australian airports and they seem very on the ball to apply stringent rules about what can be brought in and I applaud it.
    Corner sops and farmer’s markets are often dearer than anywhere else but at least you know what you’re getting and the profit is going to the right place.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

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    1. Live pigs are prohibited from being imported to Australia to protect our own pigs from disease. Pig products are imported for various reasons -cheaper mainly due to overseas economics, oversupply, subsidies. The balance of the local market pig product is exported. The quality of Australian product and market conditons mean it’s often able to sell overseas more profitably than locally.
      In Australia corner-convenience stores often sell supermarket brands at higher prices. But there are a growing number of independent stores who cater for truly fresh produce/free range/organic similar to farmers markets. The upfront cost can be higher but so is the quality and shelf life. I find in the end cost-wise it’s much of a muchness.

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    1. Thank you. One of my favourite quotes is:
      “If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” George Bernard Shaw

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  5. Right on Elladee! (In 70s mode still). Very well said, I only wish it were easier to do all shopping outside the nastier supermarkets. We do have one lovely northern chain here called Booths which tho still a profit-making enterprise treats its suppliers fairly, sources locally and is a family firm run by two of the brothers Booth.Seasonality is the other big issue here in the cold wet north where citrus fruits and bananas and avocadoes and lots of other lovely things don’t grow 😦

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    1. Convenience, price and lack of opportunity are other hindrances in the quest for Good Food. The G.O. used to wonder at how much effort I put into research and shopping but in periods where I don’t have time (he never has time; gone from dawn to dark working usually 6 days a week on a constructions site!) our quality of life suffers immensely somewhat confined as it is to sleeping and eating!
      Although I prefer to shop local, I don’t restrict myself to it, as some local offerings don’t fit my criteria where non-local do. It’s easier to eat in season if you have access to good farmers markets but otherwise it can be a bit sad… I miss avocado’s unless I can get truly local non-cold storage… even in season so much ‘fresh’ produce has been stockpiled.

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  6. I feel better when I eat fresh wholesome foods. it’s important to consider the tradeoff in price and quality. You’ve definitely made me want to shop farmers’ markets this year. 🙂

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    1. I get angry because many people truly do their best to eat well and don’t realise some of the supposedly healthy supermarket food isn’t, nor is the ‘fresh’ produce really fresh.
      It took me a while to get into the routine of farmers markets & other good sources, and away from the temptation of convenience when I was time poor. But as often via change, once it happens there’s no going back.

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      1. I always try to shop the end aisles and not the middle ones so I focus on the less processed foods. But that’s really a first step in a long journey to eating better. I think it can happen in baby steps. Getting fresh fruits and veggies from farmers’ markets would be a good goal for this spring and summer. 🙂

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        1. I love my Saturday morning walk, granny trolley in tow, through the streets and around the market. It feels real, walking and talking to people, patting the dogs, test tasting and then stowing food -proper food- in my trolley, walking home making plans for dinner 🙂

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  7. Yes! Amen and well said. Big Food is concerned with its profits only. It will comply with government regulations (minimally) but not out of any interest in seeing that the food they provide is as tasty and nutritious as possible, but rather because failure to comply may affect their profits.

    Whenever possible we should buy our food from people who love the land it was raised on.

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  8. Goddamn I love the look of your lunch. Very inspiring. I shared your last post with my partner, and he hasn’t stopped talking about what they do to olives ever since. He loves olives and we eat them by the kilo! You are absolutely spot on – it is up to us to be educated, open minded and aware of the food that we eat – and don’t rely on corporations for our food into. I always use the example of people being educated by the dairy industry as to how much dairy and what type they should eat, or margarine companies on heart health. Seriously?

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      1. Farmers markets visits I realize will have to be planned but at least I am closer to my preferred sources for local produce -eggs, beef, buffalo, pork, chicken & duck, seafood, soap, wine, macadamias, etc- and eventually my own vege garden and maybe chooks.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It was the blogging world and Michael Pollen’s books who truly opened my eyes and made me start asking questions. I couldn’t wouldn’t see what was being done to our food. Everyone with their own pitch as you say… eat beef or whatever, don’t eat meat… I just want to eat real food without the fine print. And who would think it about olives… not me.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Timely and important post. We are lucky to be near farm that you can visit and pick your own of what ever is in season (and eagerly waiting for those spring/summer crops.)and fresh off the boat fish markets. We now have a small local food chain that found people will come for Texas products, local/small farm produce. The stores used to be only in South TX small towns, but is slowly growing north – as more small farms are signing up to sell their foods. Very little is trucked very far. (They do have some Louisiana products like crawfish – but Louisiana is so close, they’ve always been like next door neighbors)
    Still mostly I’m shopping the edges. (Costco for paper and bulk items once a month) You really have to watch labels…some say “packaged in USA” which means products may or may not be from outside the country. Safer with what is in season and fresh.

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    1. Making the most of available local produce is wonderful… fresh food tastes so much better. We are fortunate have wonderful memories to guide us… It’s great to hear of the revival of local produce stores, I feel it’s a good sign that there’s need and demand. Big supermarkets try to win us by price, convenience and retail science but a proper home-cooked dinner I think beats all 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Consumers can drive direction if they try. (But we get the weekenders/tourists that grab all the chips, sodas, and cookies – lots of the stores put those processed foods and snackie things right near the door – easy in easy out….and out of the regulars’ path. Clever.)

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  10. The Locavore movement I think is a valuable, welcomed one. Bill’s comment “Whenever possible we should buy our food from people who love the land it was raised on” is something I aspire to here in Bermagui and will continue to do, even when Woolworths opens here sometime this month. The new farmers’ market here, has been well recieved, and there are a surprising amount of people growing their own food…including us. If you really want to feel good about your food, grow strawberry plant on a window ledge or a tomato plant on your balcony. Plant food rather than exotic ornamentals. Little things to do, but big feel good things. The more of those things you do, the more driven you become to avoid places like Woolworths.

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    1. Thank you. That’s our goal; to grow at least some of own food. Unfortunately our balcony situation doesn’t lend itself to edible but we have access to a community herb garden. While we take the steps to our goal I search out farmers markets and local produce wherever I can, and give Big Supermarkets a miss as much as possible 🙂

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