Locally Made Product, do people really care? Bocconcini Cheese in Adelaide, South Australia
I only recently discovered that the Bambini Bocconcini I buy every week in Woolworths is South Australian! It is made by an Italian Cheese Manufacturer in Glynde, Adelaide.
Do people really care about where their products come from and whether they are local. I've heard that there is a trend towards buying locally made products - but I really wonder if this is true? anyone?
I go for quality first and foremost. With many things local can be better because it is fresher, but that said airfreighted produce can be just as fresh as some produce trucked interstate especially in Aus where the distances are so great.
Are Australian "copy" products as good as the real deal compared to those from the original country? For me that really depends on the nature of the product, for example we grow a lot of durum wheat in Australia and so Australian pasta can be just as good as an Italian brand.
In other areas, cheese and cured meat as examples, Australian legislation is quite restrictive and so producers can't capture the elements that make the product authentic. IIRC there was an uproar when the government banned all unpasteurised cheese imports because real Parmesan cheese is unpasteurised. The poli's quickly changed the law to allow aged cheese (shows the size of the Italian vote in Aus) but you still can't buy most imported unpasteurised cheese or make any unpasteurised cheese here. As a result I eat a lot less cheese than I did when I lived in France because Australian cheese isn't that good.
I think there is sometimes a lot of mythology around foods from certain places. I buy Aussie olive oils rather than European because I feel they are as good if not better that the more expensive European ones I can get. But for other products the, the one from its place of origin is better even if it is meant to be the same product i.e. Becks beer brewed by Lion Nathan in Australia, for me, doesn't taste the same as the original no matter how much they say it does.
So that is taste which is going to be product by product. The other issue is food miles and the environment. Here, people say local is greener because there are less transport costs. But it isn't that simple especially if the product needs lots of energy or water to grow. So it may be ecologically better to fly in Veggies from Thailand which has a good climate and lots of water rather than trucking the veggies from irrigated land in drought affected parts of Australia. Again I go for quality as the food miles arguments are far from settled, and tend to be positioned by lots of vested interests i.e. the soil association in the UK trying to take away the "organic" designation from imported vegetables because of their high food miles (the soil association being is the lobby/industry group that represents UK organic farmers).