Country of origin labelling

The jargon surrounding country of origin confuses consumers.
 
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03.AUSBUY and AMAG

What’s the difference between AMAG and Ausbuy?

Both logos endorse local producers and manufacturers; however AUSBUY’s key emphasis is on ownership. CEO Lynne Wilkinson: “Ownership means that we keep the decisions, profits and jobs here and that has a multiplier effect in our economy.”
AMAG’s key emphasis is on products being made here. CEO Ian Harrison: “The AMAG logo is focused on where a product is made or produce is grown, rather than on the ownership of the company. If it is made or grown here, then it means that jobs are created here, it is made in a clean and safe environment, to Australian standards, parts can be easily replaced and it hasn’t travelled around the world.”

AUSBUY

Launched in 1991 by Australian Companies Institute (ACI), businessman Harry Wallace founded the scheme when his 120-year-old printing business suffered as a result of dumping by USA companies wanting to come into the Australian market place during the 1991 recession.

Logo use: Majority (more than 51%) Australian-owned companies that source and produce here can use the AUSBUY logo, although AUSBUY members source 80% to 98% of their produce or components from local businesses. Franchises with no marketing input from foreign parents can join provided they source, produce and supply in Australia. The companies and brands licensed to use its logo, along with other Australian-owned and foreign-owned companies, are listed in the AUSBUY Guide, which is available for $2.95 at most supermarkets.

Governance: It is run by the Australian Companies Institute (ACI), a not-for-profit organisation.

Application process: Representatives of a company must undergo a review, complete an application form and agree to abide by AUSBUY’s strict rules governing the use of its certification marks. Companies pay an annual fee to use the logo.

Compliance/audit process: Ownership of businesses using AUSBUY logo is checked by ACI. There is no formal audit process. “The integrity of our members is such that if a product is majority sourced offshore they do not use our logo. We have a wide network of Friends of AUSBUY across Australia who are our advocates and check products and prices for us,” explains Wilkinson.

For more information about the work conducted by AUSBUY and their policies visit their website at www.ausbuy.com.au.

Research conducted by AUSBUY supports CHOICE’s survey findings in that Australian consumers want to support Australian companies.

Currently the AUSBUY logo (and the AUSBUY Guide) is the only form of identification on a label to identify a product as being produced by an Australian-owned company. AUSBUY’s labelling policy outlines that:
• The ACCC should be harsher when it comes to labelling infringements.
• Foreign-owned companies shouldn’t be allowed to mislead consumers by using Australian iconography on their packaging which infers they are Australian.
• The Government should produce stricter legislation in terms of labelling and identifying Country of Origin. (AUSBUY was a key advocate for Country of Origin on fresh produce nearly a decade ago).

In CHOICE’s submission to the independent food labelling review panel, one of the seven demands for better food labels was for Informative country of origin labels that help consumers to identify where key ingredients (like fruit, vegetables, meat, etc) have come from. From this the panel recommended extending country of origin labelling to all primary foods (eg: meat, poultry, pork). The panel also recommended that country of origin labelling should be regulated in the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 rather than the Food Standards Code, suggesting that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) should develop a consumer information standard specifically relating to food, with clearer requirements for products with Australian ingredients.

Table: Ownership of the top selling food brands in Australian supermarkets.

 Brand

Australian owned 

Foreign owned 

Formerly Australian owned 

 Cadbury (A)  

 Kraft USA

 
 Coca-Cola  

 USA

 
 Bega

 yes (B)

   
 Smith's  

 Pepsico USA

 P

 Bird's Eye (A)  

 Simplot USA

 
Mainland

Fonterra NZ

Berri (A)

National Foods Kirin Japan

P

Bulla

yes (B)

Golden Circle

Heinz USA

P

John West (A)

Simplot USA

Vegemite (A)

Kraft USA

P

Shapes

Arnott's owned by Campbells USA

P

Milo (A)

Nestle NZ

Weet-Bix

yes (B)

 

Schweppes

Formerly Cadbury Schweppes Japan

Dairy Farmers (A)

National Foods Kirin Japan

P

Coon (A)

National Foods Kirin Japan

P

Lindt

Switzerland

Tim Tams Arnott's owned by Campbells USA

P

Pura (A)

National Foods Kirin Japan

P

(A) Products within these brands may be Australian Made, however they are foreign owned.
(B) AUSBUY member.

AMAG (Australian Made, Australian Grown)

Australian Made, Australia Grown Logo was launched by the Hawke government in 1986 and is a registered trademark approved by the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, IP Australia and the ACCC.

Logo use: The logo can only be used on products that are actually made or grown in Australia (it cannot be used on services). About 1700 businesses are licensed to use the logo on more than 10,000 products which can be found on its website’s searchable directory at www.australianmade.com.au.

Governance: Australian Made, Australian Made Campaign is a not-for-profit organization but provides annual reports to the government. It also works closely with the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) to promote locally made products overseas.

Application process: Representatives of a company must complete an application form, sign a statutory declaration that their products comply with the legislation and describe how they do so, and agree to be bound by a Code of Practice. An AMAG representative will often call and visit the business to ensure entries are accurate before the business submits the form. Companies pay an annual fee to use the logo.

Compliance/audit process: Annual random sampling of 1% of licensees for on-site independent auditing. If the auditor or ACCC discover products do not meet the criteria, their licence is cancelled.

AMAG’s emphasis is on products being made locally. “The issue of ownership can be misleading,” says CEO Ian Harrison. “Pacific Brands for example is Australian-owned but sent 1850 jobs offshore last year. The AMAG logo is focused on where a product is made or produce is grown, rather than on the ownership of the company. “If it is made or grown here, that means that jobs are created here, it is made in a clean and safe environment to Australian standards, parts can be easily replaced and it hasn’t travelled around the world.”

 

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