This week Food Frontier CEO Thomas King appeared at a hearing for the Senate Inquiry into Definitions of Meat and Other Animal Products, led by Queensland Nationals Senator Susan McDonald. His appearance followed Food Frontier’s written submission to the Inquiry.
In his opening statement, Thomas sought to bring clarity to the conversation around the labelling of alternative protein products, sharing insights from Food Frontier’s comprehensive labelling analysis of the 250+ products currently on Australian supermarket shelves. He spoke to how the analysis’ findings help dispel some of the misinformation that’s been a part of Hearings conversations to date, by clarifying how the vast majority of products are actually labelled in this category.
Thomas also highlighted the significant opportunities presented by the growth of alternative proteins for Australian farmers, manufacturers and exporters, pointing to research from the Australian Farm Institute and Agrifutures, CSIRO, FIAL and others that has quantified that value. He spoke to Food Frontier’s work in collaborating with organisations across the supply chain to realise these benefits, and underscored the essential role of plant proteins sector in reaching Australian agriculture’s goal of a $100bn food and fibre sector by 2030.
He noted Food Frontier’s view that a consensus-based, industry-led approach towards producing labelling guidelines is the most sensible and effective next step, cautioning against imposing red tape that could unnecessarily restrict Australia’s competitiveness in this rapidly growing global sector.
This week’s hearing was the third in what is expected to be several hearings throughout the process of the Inquiry, with the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee expected to table a full report on its findings in February 2022.
A video of Thomas’s full opening statement (recorded separately following the Hearings for the purposes of this post) can be viewed below.