Over the past 5 years, we've alerted you to the major supermarkets' growing concentration of overseas products -- and the dwindling lines of Australian goods. Consider these figures for a moment - we spend almost $1.4 billion per week at supermarkets, but only $106 million of that goes on Australian goods. That means, out of every $8 we spend, a mere $1 is spent on Australian products.
It's echoed all around our supermarkets - customers want to buy Australian goods over imports, if they can.
But trying to track down locally made or produced products from Australian companies is a huge challenge. In just 2 years, the percentage of Australian items available at the supermarket has dropped from 15% to 12.5%.
"Around 87% of the products in an average Australian shopping trolley is foreign owned or made" says Mike Rogers from Fightback Australia which supports local brands. He says the supermarket majors, are killing off Aussie products for imported, especially in their rapidly expanding generic ranges.
"They buy it wherever they can dirt cheap, so if it is cheaper overseas, that's where they get it."
So Fightback, along with IGA supermarkets are helping shoppers spot the Aussie lines. Shelf stickers, and a free supermarket Guide listing all the home-grown brands, take you straight there. Today Tonight got behind the campaign when it started 2 years ago - now with more goods appearing and disappearing from the shelves, a new guide's launched this week.
Products with koalas, kangaroos and Australian flags can be misleading. There's no guarantee they're dinki-di, but with these stickers you can instantly tell its Australian made and Australian owned.
Most personal care lines are foreign. Some products are made here - while the manufacturer is a foreign-owned company. Most nuts and chips are imported; tinned fruit's mainly from South Africa, China, and Thailand; tinned tomatoes from Italy.
"We've got frozen vegetable from NZ and China, we've also got frozen vegies we don't know where they come from - it says local and imported. Fish from overseas, pies are Australian, TV dinners - the majority are foreign owned, Australian made but foreign owned" says Mike Rogers.
Aussie Products Guide continued�
"I can tell you that a hundred - of the top hundred suppliers in Australia, of supermarkets, only 20 per cent of those are actually Australian owned" says Lance.
Lance Robey of the family owned Australian company, Steric.
"If we're going to have any sort of future we've got to have more consumers buying more Australian products that's absolutely vital."
'We like to keep the jobs in Australia, people employed and farmers working." Rashid Khan, CEO of Khan's Supa IGA group, says the cost of imported supermarket items is rising because of the fall in the Australian dollar. "Locally made goods are more value for money."
Our previous survey 2 years ago proved that. We compared the price of a trolley of 15 popular Australian owned and grown brands with equivalent foreign ones. The foreign products total $38.10, the Australian $33.05 - $5.05 cheaper, or more than 13% cheaper, for the local products.
"The quality of the Australian products we are seeing on the shelf are excellent" says Mike.
Our latest survey - we compared 13 items in each basket. Aussie owned brands, this equivalent or similar overseas brands. Total cost of the overseas labels, $43.78; the Australian goods $35.45. The Aussie basket's $8.33 cheaper overall - almost 20% cheaper than the foreign-owned and made items. The gap between local and imported supermarket prices is widening.
Fightback says if we all spend another $50 a week on Australian products instead of imported, it will create another 100,000 jobs here.
For more information on Australian owned and products visit Fightback's website: www.fightbacknews.com.au