A post-Covid change to New Zealand’s food labelling is needed to support local producers and manufacturers of food, claims dumpling producer Vicki Ha.
Currently, local rules are voluntary around displaying health stars and country of origin, meaning New Zealanders are consuming large quantities of imported food, and not supporting the local market, says Ha.
Recently pork came under the spotlight with bacon identified as being imported from China and Canada, despite pork being produced in New Zealand. House of Dumplings owner, Vicky Ha, says New Zealand should look at the Australian market where stricter rules are in place around labelling.
“Whether the food is grown, produced, made, or packed in Australia or another country, this information is written on the label, and consumers can see where their food is coming from.
“I think Kiwis would be shocked at how much food they think is locally produced has been shipped in from overseas.”
Since coming out of lockdown, a surge of support for local businesses and locally made products has swept the nation. Implementing a clearer system around food labelling would further support the consumption of local products, leading to a boost in locally owned businesses.
“Kiwis need to know where their food is coming from, this is important information that they are missing out on,” says Ha.
“All local businesses need the support of our country during this time, and this is one small change that could have a huge impact”
Ha says the benefits could be huge not only to the economy, but also the environment as well as encouraging Kiwis to eat fresher ingredients that is produced right here in New Zealand.
“At what point will Kiwis stop shopping only by price and realise locally owned businesses are key to our economy.”
In an attempt to challenge the status quo, House of Dumplings is launching New Zealand’s first range of plant-based dumplings using as much locally produced ingredients as possible, and she says other businesses need to do the same.
“We have to think outside the box during this time, we’re learning to adjust and change the way we live and operate.”