(This feature was published in GMA News Online last March 17, 2014)
Whenever I go to the grocery, I make sure to pass by each aisle to see if there is a new item that I am interested to try, and most of the time something does catch my eye.
As much as possible, I try to avoid the junk food section and go for healthier options instead. I noticed that others have also become more health-conscious, getting into various diets and health trends. Since I’m not a fan of diets, I would rather focus on consuming nutritious foods that are good for the body, and wouldn’t mind even paying a premium for it.
The foodie in me, therefore, is delighted to have more choices that I could incorporate while creating home-cooked meals with the launch of Market Australia, a food and beverage festival that highlights diverse, high-quality products like produce, wine, beef, lamb, and cheese form The Land Down Under.
Welcome to Market Australia
During the launch of Market Australia, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell shared some convincing points why Filipinos should give these products a try. He mentioned that the Philippines already sources a lot of products from Australia, such as dairy products, fresh fruits and vegetables, wines, plus a range of grocery items like gluten-free products, halal-certified products, snacks, confectionary, and more.
Many of these are available at Market Australia, which “aims to cater to the different needs of shoppers,” he said. Tweddell said the festival will showcase an array of foods and products, including premium and gourmet items, as well as organic and natural products that promote a healthy lifestyle.
The Ambassador promised three qualities about Australian food: clean, green and safe. “Australian food and beverages are clean because in Australia we have a pristine growing environment for our livestock and produce. A clean environment ensures that only the freshest and best quality products are produced,” he said. “Green because Australian companies utilize growing and production processes that are environmentally friendly and sustainable. Safe because Australia’s food production processes have high levels of regulatory supervision and strict quality standards. We have food safety management and traceability systems in place.”
Metro Supermarket has actually been offering Australian products for 15 years, but not on this scale.
While going around the supermarket, I gravitated towards the wine section since I’m pretty familiar with Australian wines. What I liked about them is that they are good whatever price point they may be. I’m not a connoisseur so I don’t really splurge on my vino, but the average-priced Australian wines I have tasted are actually agreeable to my palate.
Aside from wines, I also checked out the meat section, which featured Australian lamb and beef—two of the country’s most famous products. Their lamb has earned a reputation for being lean and flavorful thanks to decades of careful breeding and meticulous quality standards. Beef is a common ingredient in our kitchen, but lamb is not a staple in our house. I heard though that you could use this type of meat in local cooking as well. Perhaps I’ll try making some lamb adobo soon.
I also saw the fruits like table grapes and peaches, as well as vegetables like mushrooms and brussels sprouts, and these looked picture-perfect—like something you would see in recipe books.
The products are obviously pricier than the local ones and it would seem natural to hesitate to spend that much money, but I would simply think of it as investing in my health. After all, I only have one body and I should take care of it. Eating good and healthy food is definitely the right way to do it.