For the last few months I have been wondering why my favourite crunchy peanut butter just doesn’t taste quite as good as it used to.Â Then recently I heard a radio interview that mentioned how Sanitarium had shifted much of their operation to Australia and then subsequently outsourced peanut butter production to China. Sure enough – upon inspection I noticed three words in tiny print on the bottom corner of theÂ label – “Made in China”. I recoiled in horror.
NowÂ apparently because of sensitivities around trade barriers, there is some cautiousness about enforcing theÂ labelling of some products with country of origin. So we now have (another) paradoxical situation. On the one hand the governmentÂ has committedÂ to pursue the “Buy NZ Made” policy, whilst on the other it feels obligated not to offend trading partners who are currently flooding the nation with cheap (but inferior)Â imported goods.
It sometimes feels like we are giving away our sovereignty when we look at how much of our consumer goods are now sourced from offshore. I actually don’t mind paying a few cents more for a New Zealand made food product that tastes better, because I know that it won’t end up in the waste bin half finished!
ButÂ is theÂ “Buy NZ Made” campaign going to make a difference? I’m not sure that you can legislate to control consumer preference.Â Yes I would like to see moreÂ “NZ Made” labels on local products, so I can make an informed choice. ButÂ retailers have already got the message loud and clearÂ from their customers and areÂ voluntarily labelling goods anyway.Â And isn’t there already an existing organisation with a recognised logo?Â Why spend a bunch of my tax dollars reinventing the wheel?
The good news is that Sanitarium have just announced that they intend to recommence producing a line of traditional “more local” brand of peanut butter.Â I wonder if they appreciate the irony in the fact that it will still be manufactured in the Australian plant?