Is your favourite ‘local’ cider helping to employ Australians and value-add to our horticulture industry? Chances are, you probably aren’t aware where the apples and pears used to make your cider are from – it’s a major issue Cider Australia is trying to rectify.
The national body representing Australian pear and apple cider producers has launched an on-line petition calling on the government to apply its strict new country of origin labelling laws to cider, just as it does to fruit juice.
Cider Australia president Sam Reid said the petition aims to prove to the government that consumers really do care where their alcoholic beverages come from.
“We applaud the government for improving the country of origin labelling requirements for many products,” Mr Reid said.
“The government, however, says that its research indicates that people don’t prioritise alcohol as a product in need of more clear labelling and this petition is designed to show otherwise.
“We think it’s a basic human right that people know where the food and beverages they are putting in their bodies come from.”
Mr Reid said a change to the government’s pending legislation would be simple and made sense.
“Fruit juice is quite appropriately covered by the new rules, and cider, which is fermented fruit juice, should also be required to indicate the proportion of ingredients grown in Australia,” Mr Reid said.
“More than 70% of the cider marketed in Australia is made using imported juice concentrate that is significantly cheaper than Australian grown fruit juice.”
Mr Reid fears that without change, Australian producers won’t be able to compete on a level playing field against large organisations who are making their cider from cheaper imported concentrate, mostly from China.
“Cheap ciders will dominate the category and eventually force producers using local ingredients to go out of business,” Mr Reid said.
“Not only will that impact on hundreds of cider industry employees but it will also reduce a valuable secondary revenue stream for so many apple and pear farmers from around Australia, putting the viability of many orchards into question.”
It will circulate for 6 weeks, until after Cider Australia’s Awards and festival, which will be held in Melbourne on the 9th, 10th & 11th of October.