2010s

About this timeline

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This Australian food history timeline started as a spin-off from my book, Me and My Big Mouth, which explores the revolution in Australian food that has occurred during the baby-boomers’ lifetime. You can buy the book by following this link.

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The timeline has since expanded to include more about the previous decades (and century) as well. Also included are overseas events and trends that had an impact here. The entries are brief, but there are lots of links if you want more information.Entries are by decade, scroll down (it’s long) and use the Load More button,  or use the menu at right to jump to a decade. You can also use the search function to track down specific topics.

2014 Food trends according to Good Food Guide

Good Food Guide 2015Commenting on 2014 food trends, Larissa Dubecki and Jane Apelgren 0f  The Age Good Food Guide identified pickles, kale, milk sheets, beef cheeks and pork jowl as among the hot ingredients over the past year. Salted caramel, they say, has had its day, replaced in the sweet stakes with licorice, coconut, popcorn and bacon. It’s bye bye sous vide and hello smoke and flame. More

2014 Riesling tops in wine survey

According to a survey by online wine retailer Vinomofo, Riesling is Aussie wine-drinkers’ preferred white, ahead of Chardonnay. Sauvignon Blanc comes third. Shiraz is the preferred red, with Cabernet declining and Pinot Noir making gains. The wine survey found that nearly half of us drink wine on three to five days each week. More

2014 Woolworths supports SPC Ardmona

spc-ardmona tinned peachesIn a PR triumph, supermarket chain Woolworths announced a five-year deal with struggling Victorian fruit packer SPC Ardmona to supply fruit for their Select house brand. The announcement followed an unsuccessful attempt by SPC to obtain financial support from the Australian government. More

2014 Google maps inside Coles

Google maps inside ColesThe Coles store in Sydney’s Broadway has become the first supermarket in Australia to use Google Business Photos.  In the style of Google’s Streetview, you can see  360-degree interior imagery of the refurbished Broadway store. You can  click through from the street and check out the key features of the store. But the shoppers remain incognito – all faces are blurred.

2014 GMO legal case – neighbour vs neighbour

Canola flowers - GMO legal caseIt was a landmark GMO legal case. A Western Australian farmer sued his neighbour after losing his organic status, when GM canola seedheads blew onto his property. Steve Marsh can no longer sell his oats as organic. He’s been stripped of his organic certification and export licence. He sued for loss of income. This was the first civil damages case brought for contaminating organic crops by negligence. The court ruled against MarshMore

2013 Voluntary Food and Grocery Code

AGFC Food and Grocery CodeIn November the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) and Australia’s two largest supermarket retailers, Coles and Woolworths reached an agreement on the terms of a new food and grocery code of conduct. The code aimed to establish fairer relationships between retailers and suppliers, but was generally rejected by farmers because of its voluntary nature. More

2013 Weekly shop a thing of the past

Research conducted for Woolworths by Bernard Salt of KPMG showed that Australians’ shopping habits have changed significantly over the past 25 years. Just 35% of an average family’s food budget is spent on the main weekly shop – and that primary shopping day day is increasingly likely to be Sunday, not Saturday. The research also linked stay-at-home adult children to higher household food spending and cast light on the changing contents of the trolley. More

2013 Queensland redefines free-range eggs

Intensively farmed free-range eggsDespite a growing community focus on the welfare of farmed animals, the Queensland Government has changed its legislation to redefine what constitutes free-range eggs. Previously, Queensland was the only state to give legal status to the national Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals, which specifies a maximum of 1,500 birds per hectare. The new standard of 10,000 birds per hectare handily falls in line with what Coles defines as free-range. More

2013 More Aussies drinking cider

First festival for Aussies drinking ciderAccording to Roy Morgan research, there are more Aussies drinking cider than ever before. In the 12 months to March 2013, nearly one in five Australians aged between 18 and 24 drank cider in an average four week period. This compares with just one in 25 in 2008. While young people are most likely to drink cider, there’s a steep increase among  35 to 49-year-olds too, from  3 per cent to 8 per cent over the past two years. The Australian Cider Festival was first held at Manly’s Hotel Steyne in October 2012. More

2013 Choc Tops change hands

Choc_TopRowena Foods, manufacturers of that favourite of cinema-goers, the Choc Top, have been bought by Bulla Dairy Foods. Rowena’s Choc Tops have been part of the cinema experience since 1990. The company supplies  the two biggest cinema chains, Hoyts and Village. More

2013 The modern sandwich

SandwichThe lunch! event held in Sydney for the take-away food industry incorporated competitions for the best sandwich, wrap, juice and smoothie. The overall winner in the sandwich section,  Mal Gill from Lady Marmalade & Shady Palms, Brisbane, cleaned up with a wrap including Berbere spiced shredded beef brisket, sweet potato, beetroot hummus and bitter leaves. His winning lunch roll was a Tokyo Pork Belly Sub with spiced pear relish, miso mayo, raw Brussell sprout slaw and five-spiced crackling.  It’s a long way from toasted ham and cheese!
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2013 Food retailing worth $135.8 billion

According to ‘Australian Food Statistics’, a report produced by the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) in 2013, with data extracted from Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the  value of liquor and food retailing in Australia grew by 4.2 per cent in 2011-12, to $135.8 billion. Of that spending, supermarkets and grocery outlets accounted for 62%, cafes and restaurants 14%, take-away outlets 11%, liquor retailing 7% and other food outlets 6%.

2013 Chips most popular snack food

potato-chipsRoy Morgan research has released the results of a snack food survey showing that 33 per cent of Australians bought  potato chips in an average four-week period during the 12 months to March 2013. This was down slightly from 36 per cent in the year to March 2009. Other popular snack foods were chocolate coated biscuits (20 per cent), savoury biscuits (19 per cent), and corn chips (16 per cent). In New Zealand, potato chips are even more popular, with 44 per cent having bought them in an average four week period.>Australian Food News 

2013 Corner stores on the wane

corner-storeAustralian industry research group BIS Shrapnel has reported a 34% decrease in the number of corner stores between 2010 and 2012. They attribute this to the rise in the number of petrol stations incorporating convenience stores with expanded food and beverage offerings. Many of these are owned by Coles or Woolworths. An estimated 2725 corner stores remain, with the average annual takings decreasing from $985,000 to $750,000 in the past two years. More

2013 Ingham chicken business sold

logo_inghamIngham Chicken, a family business founded in south-west Sydney in 1918, was sold to US-based private equity firm TPG Capital. Ingham and competitor, Baiada (whose brands include Lilydale and Steggles) control more than 70% of the Australian chicken business.  TPG’s global investments span many industries including financial services, travel, technology, retail, media, consumer products and healthcare. Inghams operations will continue under the new owners.

2013 Rosella closed down

Rosella logoIn March 2013 the remaining factory of iconic Australian brand Rosella closed down after the receivers failed to find a buyer for the business. Much was made of the return of Rosella to Australian hands when Unilever (who acquired it in 1963) unloaded it to Stuart Alexander & Co Pty Ltd in 2002. The business was sold again in 2006 to Gourmet Food Holdings, but receivers were appointed in December 2012. By then Rosella was reduced to one Sydney factory with 70 employees. In April 2013 the brand was bought by local company Sabrands.  >>See Rosella Preserving Company founded, 1895.

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2013 First non-GMO certification scheme in Australia

gmo-idsmlEuropean certification business Cert ID Europe, with food science consultancy HACCP Australia,  launched the first non-GMO certification program for the Australian food industry. (HACCP stands for hazard analysis and critical control points and  is a systematic preventive approach to food safety.)

2013 Coroner cites Coca Cola in NZ death

natashaA New Zealand coroner found that the consumption of up to 10 litres of Coca Cola a day was likely to have contributed to the cardiac arrhythmia that caused the death of Natasha Harris, a 30-year-old mother of eight, in 2010.  He called for health warnings about caffeine and sugar content to be displayed on soft drink bottles. Harris also smoked 30 cigarettes a day and ate very little. All her teeth had been extracted.

2013 McDonald’s becomes Macca’s

maccas'sFor a few weeks leading up to Australia Day,  McDonald’s in Australia became ‘Macca’s’, on the website, in advertising, on menus and even on signs on selected stores. McDonald’s research found that 55 per cent of Australians called the company Macca’s and they have  submitted the word to the Macquarie Dictionary for consideration.

2012 Top fine diners

In selecting its top fine diners, The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide again named Quay as its restaurant of the year. In Melbourne, The Age’s Guide chose Shannon Bennett’s Vue de Monde. The best Victorian country restaurant was Provenance in Beechworth, with its chef, Michael Ryan, winning the chef of the year award.

2012 Death cap mushrooms kill three in Canberra

Two people died from liver damage after a New Year’s eve dinner where they ate Amanita phalloides, or Death Cap Mushrooms. A third person later died in hospital. Death caps have been involved in the majority of deaths around the world from mushroom poisoning, including that of Roman emperor Claudius.

2011 World population hits seven billion

It took 123 years for the world population to go from one billion to two billion but only 12 to grow from six billion to seven billion. There are expected to be ten billion people on earth by 2083.  October 31 was named by the United Nations as Seven Billion Day.

2011 Denmark introduces ‘fat tax’

The Danish government introduced a fat tax’ surcharge on foods containing more than 2.3% saturated fats. This initiative to combat heart disease and obesity came despite the fact that only 10% of Danes are obese, compared to more than 33% in the USA.

2011 Politically correct product of the year

Australian supermarket Product of the Year was Organic Bubs Baby Food Pouches. This product ticked all the right boxes by being carbon neutral, organic, no preservatives, no artificial flavours and made in Australia. And it’s mess-free (until they start eating it, presumably).

2011 Greenpeace attacks GM wheat

On July 14, Greenpeace activists in full biohazard gear, broke into a CSIRO research facility in Canberra and destroyed a genetically modified wheat crop. They claimed it was to be used in “the world’s first human feeding trials of GM wheat, without adequate safety testing.” The CSIRO and the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator said there was no significant risk to human health.

2011 World’s largest lamington

Big lamington - Artist's impression

Big lamington – artist’s impression

On June 11, 2011, Toowoomba broke the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest lamington at the Newtown Rugby League Club. The record-beater weighed 2361 kilograms,  equilivent to 45000 normal lamingtons, and eclipsed the previous record held by Ipswich. Both cities claim to be the birthplace of this Australian classic and Toowoomba is contemplating erecting a “big lamington” as a tourist attraction.

2011 Fast food chains hit big numbers

By 2011 Australia had more than 1250 Subways, 845 Domino’s, 780 McDonald’s and 300 Hungry Jack’s, with 600 KFCs across Australia and New Zealand. It was estimated that Australians would spend $37 billion on fast food in 2011.

2011 Worst fast food named

The consumer organisation, Choice, named Hungry Jack’s Ultimate Double Whopper as the worst fast food, with a single burger delivering  almost 60 per cent of an adult’s recommended daily kilojoule intake.

2011 Milestones in food presentation – blog

high_foodSomeone who has seen (and done) it all posted this amusing summary of restaurants’ food presentation styles since the 1950s.  Eras include the Miniscule Era, the Gigantic Era, the Stacking Era, the Sprinkling Era and the Drizzle Era. The writer is clearly of the ‘old school’ and more than a little scornful about molecular gastronomy.

2011 Europe still has most top restaurants

Top restaurants awardsAccording to Restaurant magazine, six of the ten top restaurants in the world were still  European restaurants. Spain appeared three times, the USA twice, Brazil, Italy, the UK, France and Denmark once. Denmark’s noma was again named the best restaurant in the world.

2010s New cuisines draw crowds

New cuisines included Korean KimchiThe lastest “in” cuisines were Korean, Mexican, South American (BBQ) and Scandinavian. Or, if you believe Matt Preston, the new cuisines were Spanish, Latin American and Japanese.

2010 noma named world’s best

René Redzepi at nomaChef René Redzepi’s restaurant noma displaced El Bulli as Restaurant magazine’s best in the world. The restaurant, located in Copenhagen, Denmark introduced foraging as a fundamental part of the menu.  Local ingredients at noma include Icelandic skyr curd, halibut, Greenland musk ox, berries and water.

2010 Masterchef trumps politicians

Masterchef more popular than politicians

The culinary contest/reality show Masterchef proved so popular in Australia that the pre-election television debate between Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the leader of the opposition, Tony Abbott, had to be moved to a different time slot because it would clash with Masterchef Series Two final. And no prizes for guessing which program rated better.

2010 Pizza Hut’s iPhone app

Pizza Hut's iPhone appPizza Hut Australia launched an iPhone app taking ordering pizza to a new level of geekdom. The App, with a range of features including augmented reality, reached 70,000 downloads within the first 30 days of launch.

2010 Macaron craze

Dream Cuisine truffle macaronMacarons  became “the new cupcakes”. Consisting of two almond meal and egg white biscuits, sandwiched together with ganache, macarons in their current form were invented in Paris in the early 20th century by Pierre Desfontaines Ladurée (although forms of almond cookie had been around for much longer). Flavours can be wild (violet blackcurrant, rosewater and raspberry) and one bakery even concocted a Lamington version for Australia Day. Macarons caused a stir on Masterchef and macaron towers have become the new croquembouche as a wedding cake.