Every product you eat from the supermarket has a label. This label tells you what ingredients go into your food. New labelling laws are about to come into effect. Country of origin labels mean you’ll be able to tell if what you are eating is Aussie grown and processed or if it’s imported. This is great for knowing about what you eat,but what about what you drink? Alcohol has been left of the bill and Cider drinkers have the most to loose.

Industry body Cider Australia is seriously concerned that cider is excluded from the Federal Governments’ proposed new country of origin food labelling scheme leaving consumers with no certainty about the origin of the juice content.

The Government has announced that from next year it will omit alcoholic beverages from the obligation to declare on the label, whether the contents were grown in Australia or overseas.

Cider Australia President Sam Reid said, “Not including cider in a future country of origin labelling scheme would be a devastating blow to an industry that so strongly supports local growers and regional development.

“We agree the existing laws are not effective, but removing cider from the scheme altogether does nothing for the Australian cider industry, growers or consumers”.

“Cider and perry are traditional beverages made by fermenting the juice of apples and pears and the quality and origin of the juice has a huge bearing on the quality of the end product.

“Fruit juice is quite rightly included on the list of foods covered by the new rules and the new labels will highlight all the imported concentrate that goes into apple juice, but Australian consumers need to be aware that the same thing happens in cider”, said Mr Reid.

Under new laws if your apple juice is “fresh” your will be able to see that it is  made from Chinese, South American or Polish concentrate. Then you will be able to make an informed decision, put it back on the shelf and choose the Australian made product next to it that is made from truly fresh apple from an orchard that creates local jobs.

However, take those same 2 juices and ferment them into cider, you as the thirsty consumer can not make an informed decision on what you’re going to buy.

“Cider like wine is made from fruit, and Australia has clear and enforceable rules to ensure that claims about country of origin on wine labels are truthful – consumers of cider also need this assurance”, said Mr Reid.

“There is a great opportunity here to reform country or origin labelling laws so they do what they were meant to do in the first place and play a role in ensuring a sustainable future for the Australian cider industry”, Mr Reid said.

With out these labelling laws consumers will be pushed toward inferior ciders made by big multi-nations with massive advertising budgets. If consumers only drink this rubbish, they will pretty quickly be turned off cider all together.  Surely, with informative labeling punters will be able to choose a cider made in Australia with Aussie apples. Especially after they’ve seen that the multinational’s cider is made from 4 types of sugar and Chinese apple concentrate and industrial alcohol.

If you want quality, firstly we need an ingredients list. If it says 100% fresh apple juice, you’re off to a good start. If it says made from concentrate or has added sugar, put it back. Unfortunately, we are blind to this information today.

Secondly, if you want to support Aussie jobs, you need to buy Aussie products. Again consumers do not have this visibility into their ciders.

So what can you do about it. Two things. One, read the label as if a genuinely Aussie cider the producers will be proud of it and put it on their label, like the examples above. But you probably still won’t be able to find out what really is inside the bottle. That’s why the second thing to do is write to your Federal Member of Parliament and ask for full ingredients list and country of origin label on alcohol, not just cider.

With these reforms, Australian cider will grow and prosper into a world class drinks industry and not just be a passing fad.