Convenience, unclear labelling and unclear country of origin information can often lead to international imports finding their way into your shopping basket or onto your plate.
So how does one know which restaurants use authentic, West Australian ingredients? Plus, how can we as regular, everyday consumers, learn to easily identify products that are grown, farmed, fished and processed in Western Australia?
Enter stage left: Buy West Eat Best.
This predicament is the entire reason we exist. We’ve dedicated the last 11 years to making it easier for consumers to confidently identify WA produce and in doing so have amassed hundreds of local suppliers and producers into our program.
Since 2008 we’ve been helping Western Aussies identify, with a single glance, whether what they are consuming is certified as the best from the West. But even more important is remembering why it’s crucial to buy WA produce - so we’ve pulled together a shortlist to help you when out & about:
1. Look for the Buy West Eat Best logo
We maintain strict criteria to ensure only quality, Western Australian suppliers and producers can display our iconic logo. How strict you ask? Fresh products like vegetables, meat, and seafood must be 100% grown, fished or farmed in Western Australia in order to be recognised as a Buy West Eat Best member.
For grocery items, like food such as sauces, yoghurts, cheese, bread or pies, the main ingredients must be grown, fished or farmed in Western Australia, and the product must be processed and transformed here too – which helps keep jobs in WA.
Plus, it’s not just suppliers and producers who can earn recognition. Local venues who are part of our restaurant program showcase their commitment by making sure that a minimum of 70% of their entrée & main menus hero local ingredients – which is very impressive!
Find out which of your favourite local restaurants are on our list here: www.buywesteatbest.org.au/about/members/restaurant/
Look for the Buy West Eat Best logo when you shop.
2. Eating seasonally is better for us (and the planet)
In-season fruit and vegetables require less energy and resources to produce and transport. With items spending less time in storage, this typically making them fresher and higher in nutritional value.
The notion of eating food irrespective of the season is something that only really developed in the last half-century – prior that, we had to adapt locally.
Though the invention of technology to refrigerate and store food now enables a higher quality of life throughout the world, the environmental benefit to eating seasonally is clear – from reduced fuel requirements due to lower fuel miles, to less energy required to store and chill.
Finally, there are added health advantages from eating seasonally with many in-season foods helping prepare the body for a changing environment. For example, Autumn’s squash and root vegetables are loaded with beta-carotene, a nutrient which helps the immune system at a time when many are getting ready for the colder months to hit. Summer fruits & vegetables are notably high in water and often cooling.
Supporting what's in season is best.
3. High demand for local produce = a stronger local economy
Purchasing local food helps the economic growth and development of Western Australia. By buying local, you are supporting the WA food and beverage industry, which extends to growers, producers and businesses, along with their communities.
This is especially true for producers who rely on supermarkets sales of their fresh produce and premium supplies. Consumer behaviour helps to dictate supply, which means a well-spent dollar can be invested to send a message.
Many large retailers forecast stock volume and type based on buying behaviour, so choosing local, organic or seasonal fruit and vegetables will help drive this message home, ensuring repeat orders.
Such trends also impact other areas of the community. In WA, we have a network of well-established farmers markets that help bridge the gap between farm gate and the general public, making it even easier to ensure dollars end up in the pockets of local producers.
Choosing local is good for the economy, and that's good for all of us.
So, did you learn something new about buying local that you didn’t before? If you need more motivation to buy west to ensure you’ll eat best, then be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. #buywesteatbest