What is your supermarket importing now?

Continuing my occasional quest for examples of disappointments in supermarkets, I have found a new example of the import-cheap-product-at-all-costs approach to retailing.

What do you think I found?

1. Canned corn
2. Artisan bread
3. Exotic mushrooms
4. Rubbery balls of mozzarella
5. Tomato sauce

Can you guess? Can you? Can you?

In Australia, we’re familiar with US cherries out of season. We know some local brands of chocolate are imported in part from New Zealand. And some local biscuit products now come from factories in China.

I’ve got past my surprise at seeing that Woolworths/Safeway “Select” chocolate biscuits are from New Zealand (and I think the Coles supermarket house brand biscuits are from Scotland). Such a pity the supermarkets’ drive to stuff higher-margin house branded goods onto their shelves is so clearly at the cost of local manufacturers and producers.

So what next?

Ladies and gentleman, I present my first piece of evidence.


A seemingly innocent display of fancy breads. They look quite appetising.


They come to you direct from the USA.

I don’t know about you, but at first sight, my brain refused to process the label. “Why are they bothering to tell us the origin of the cheese?” I thought to myself. Nope. Silly. The bread. Woolworths/Safeway is importing its “artisan bread” from across the Pacific Ocean. I wonder how many cents the USAmerican manufacturer managed to undercut a local baker by in order to win the contract! Was it really worth transferring business to an overseas producer for a product we can make very well at home?

Do any readers have other examples of stunningly stupid imports? (Please ignore (un)seasonal fresh produce issues, as they already receive a fair bit of attention.)

Hot cross buns save the day

On Good Friday my mother usually makes her fantabulous hot cross buns. Unsurpassed in the history of Australia. Or something like that. Usually there are just four of us devouring the buns. This year there were unbidden guests.

Dad was serving the buns. We were making our familiar drooling, moaning noises.

Perhaps our pre-orgiastic vocalisations acted as an incantation, calling up spirits from Easters past. They marched across the tablecloth.

They surveyed our Easter breakfast. At first we were seduced by their seeming innocence. Their yellow fuzz illuminated our breakfast table.

We noticed small groups forming amongst our visitors. “How sweet!” we thought. “It’s a group hug.” … or was it something more like a rugby scrum?

While we had been observing our cute little friends do their group hug, other visitors were busy… The hugs had been a diversion!

The yellow guests were as voracious as locusts. And when challenged, defended their bounty. They had the arrogance of conquerors, standing atop the battlements of a fallen fortress.

We cowered in our seats as the fluffy yellow marauders started mutating into hideous, daemonic things.

To our surprise, the frightening feasting horned chickens of Easter began to collapse. The mutation had not been a transformation into their true form, but in fact the hideous effect of a food allergy.

They couldn’t take the peel. We were saved! Beware of peel-hating Easter invaders!