Love hearts and labels

I felt like baking love heart jam shortbread biscuits. So precise I know, but a woman’s cravings usually are.

This was partially because I had a  jar of Beerenberg blackberry jam in the cupboard that needed to be used. Down the aisle at Woolworths, Beerenberg doesn’t stick out but I bought it to share with you a very cool feature of all their products. If you type in the last six digits of the barcode and the expiry date into the Provenance Pathway on their website, you can trace the origin of each jar’s main ingredients, the date it was made and who made it.

I found out that my blackberry jam was cooked by Peter on 21 June 2010 using blackberries sourced from Hoodle creek in Victoria and sugar from Mosman in Queensland.

Give it a go – there is a sample barcode and expiry date on the provenance pathway home page or these are the details of the two jams I bought:-

Blackberry Jam
Barcode: 600014
Expiry: 21 JUN 2012

Strawberry Jam
Barcode: 600137
Expiry: 24 SEP 2012

I probably won’t stock Beerenberg as a pantry staple because there are plenty of local jam options here in Brisbane but I thought the provenance pathway is a step in the right direction towards consumer transparency. Beerenberg volunteers this extra information and that says a lot about the confidence they have in their products.

The current labelling standards in Australia require only the country of origin and a statement as to whether the ingredients are sourced locally or imported.  Imagine if you could easily find out the precise provenance (town, state and Country) of the ingredients in any product. Wouldn’t that be interesting! Would manufacturers change suppliers or be more careful about the ingredients they used? Apple juice made in Australia from local and imported ingredients is common place. But it puts a different spin if you knew the apple juice came from China, the local ingredient was water and it was reconstituted in Australia.

Now back to my baking adventure…

I was setting up the kitchen and waiting for the butter to warm to room temperature when I noticed that the label on my Baramabah organics butter stated that it was ‘Made in Australia from New Zealand ingredients.’ Assuming the butter would be made using cream sourced from their Queensland farm (like the rest of their dairy products) I had not checked this label in the shops. Organic or not, this really irritated me.  I paid $6 for a small block of butter I thought was local.  I should be grateful the label at least told me which country the ingredients came from and I know it is my own fault for not reading the label. But why is the butter made using New Zealand ingredients when they have a dairy farm in Queensland?

I have since looked at quite a few butter labels to see where the ingredients come from:-

  • Lupak – Denmark
  • True Organic – Australian or New Zealand
  • Western Star – Australia
  • Homebrand (250g) – Australia
  • Homebrand (500g) – New Zealand
  • Homebrand unsalted – New Zealand
  • Devondale – Australia
  • Beautifully Butterfully (Aldi) – Australia
  • Just Organics (Aldi) – New Zealand

Why are so many butters and especially organic butter made using New Zealand ingredients? I have emailed Barambah organics to find out why they don’t use cream from their own local dairy farm and will let you know once I get a reply.

I had difficulty getting my love heart shaped dough pieces on to my baking tray without ripping.  With my husband and sister hungrily eyeing off my progress and me still all irritated by the New Zealand butter,  I abandoned the love heart idea. I opted for basic jam drops instead.

Tasty tasty shortbread jam drops!

Provenance Shopping Basket

  • Barambah organics butter 250g – New Zealand ($5.95)
  • Beerenberg Blackberry Jam – Adelaide Hills, SA ($4.95)
  • Kialla White unbleached plain flour (600g), Toowoomba, QLD ($2.40)
  • CSR soft icing sugar – Provenance unknown  ($2.80)

Now I can’t buy butter or walk past the butter aisle without looking through the ingredients of all available options.  If anyone has an insight into why New Zealand seems to be the supply of most of our butter ingredients let me know!

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2 thoughts on “Love hearts and labels

  1. livingdelilah says:

    If i weren’t so into making jam at the moment, i’d fdefinately buy that brand, such a great idea!

    CSR sugar ownership is 25% ‘Mackay sugar co-op’ so presumably provenance is that region of north QLD. Other 75% is Singapore with whom we have a supply arrangement.
    ethical.org.au, fao.org … jam making made me research this already 🙂

    • Isabella says:

      Thanks for the links and info. I am yet to find single origin sugar. I don’t think you can really beat homemade jam – what a good skill to have 😉

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