As Australia engages to secure trade arrangements with the EU, several food naming issues has been raised and are set to be included. The EU is seeking for Champagne style protection for 172 foods and 236 spirits in return for a free trade agreement with Australia.
Feta, gruyere and gorgonzola top the list of names Europe wants to prevent Australian cheesemakers from using. Amongst the beverages, protection for prosecco is sought with claims stating both the raw ingredients and production comes from north-east Italy. The products listed have protections within the EU under the geographical indications (GI) program, which allows farmers and producers to protect names that are based on location.
Australian tourism research shows clear evidence that when inbound tourists are exposed to our food culture, they leave with vastly improved ratings of our food quality relative to other countries. This acknowledgment invites investments to create our own regional food branding identities. We are some way there with Barossa, Hunter Valley, King Island, Yarra Valley, Margaret River and Tasmania established and supported by complementary Tourism marketing.
Perhaps this move by the EU is the nudge we need to get out of the aspirational spiral of seeking to convince our markets we can produce food as good as others. Is it time to set our own standards, take credit for what we do and design the naming conventions we use?