packaging matters: new 'country of origin' food labels

by: Sarah Kneebone

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Shoppers today pay more attention to food labelling than ever before. More of us want to know exactly what’s in our food and where it has come from.

As a nation, we have an increasing awareness and concern for the environment, animal welfare, safety standards and our own health. What’s more, we want access to this kind of information about the products we buy - quickly, conveniently and in a format we trust. Is this product sustainable and ethical? Is it nutritious? Is it local?

Loco for local

Local food is in vogue. For shoppers, local food products feel fresher, higher quality, more traceable, authentic, trustworthy and environmentally friendly.

For brands, sourcing locally simplifies supply chain management, saves time, reduces transportations costs and builds goodwill amongst their customers and communities.

Labels for local

On 1st July 2016, the Australian government responded to the changing preferences and demands of Australian shoppers.

Food labelling laws were revised to make it clearer to shoppers where the products they buy are produced, grown, made and packed. The intention of these changes was to help people make clear, informed decisions about the food they buy.

Under Australian Consumer Law, a new country of origin food labelling system was introduced. Businesses were given two years to change their labelling to comply with this law, before it becomes mandatory on 1st July 2018.

Why is this important now?

This month, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is expected to release revised guidance on the new labelling system.

For anyone in the industry, it’s worth making sure you’re up to date on these changes. 

Who does the new labelling system impact?

The labelling system applies to

food offered for retail sale in Australia, including in stores or markets, online or from a vending machine’ (ACCC).

So, if you’re selling food or buying food, then this affects you.

What are the new requirements?

The label displayed on any food produced, grown or made in Australia must contain:

  1. The kangaroo in a triangle symbol, making it easy for shoppers to identify the food’s Australian origin

    A written statement which details whether the food was grown, produced or made in Australia

  2. The minimum proportion (%) of Australian ingredients, by ingoing weight and a bar chart to illustrate this.
The requirements vary depending on the country of origin and the type of product. 

The ACCC has published guidance on the new labelling rules to help businesses comply. To read more, click HERE.

If you’re in the industry, make sure to watch out for an ACCC update on the guidelines, during March 2017.

Over to you

Have you seen this label on food products in the supermarkets near you? What do you think about the new laws?  

PLAY regularly conducts both packaging and claims research and our team can advise on how any changes may affect you.

If you'd like to know more, get in touch! Just call us on 02 8097 0200. We are always happy to help.


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about the author

Sarah Kneebone

Sarah is PLAY’s go-to content writer with a passion for marrying creativity and communication with clever strategy. A former marketer with PLAY and for international brands such as QBE Insurance and General Motors, Sarah moved home to the UK to raise her little family and start a health coaching business. Luckily for us, she continues to share her talent for the written word with the team in Australia.

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