Rissoles, darl: Woolworths reveals how meat and three veg lost out to bok choy

Sarah Whyte
Asian greens line the aisles at Woolworths Wolli Creek this year.
Asian greens line the aisles at Woolworths Wolli Creek this year. 

It was once ''meat and three veg'' that were the staple diet of Australians, but now rice, curries and superfoods are just as likely to end up in our shopping trolleys as our palates have adapted to multiculturalism, a report shows.

Trolley Trends, released by Woolworths on Friday, tracks the shopping habits of Australians since 1970 and reveals the links between culinary trends and the growth of different migrant groups settling in Australia.

During the 1970s and '80s, ''Anglo'' products such as potatoes, carrots, onions and broccoli were the most popular items. Mediterranean foods such as zucchini, eggplant and broccolini took over in the '90s, before consumers moved to Asian ingredients like bok choy and snow peas in the 2000s. In 2010, the appeal of food popular in Arab countries, like dates and almonds, rose.

Now healthy superfoods such as kale, sweet potato and coconuts are the trending products, the report said.

''Our shelves today would confound the shopper of 25 years ago,'' Woolworths managing director Tjeerd Jegen said. ''There is no question that Australia has changed substantially in the past 25 years. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the way we eat. We are what we eat, in health and in society.''

Last year Woolworths began selling goat in selected stores. And Woolworths and Coles have both expanded their gluten-free range this year, attributing the move to consumer demand.

Fruit and vegetables for sale in 1983.
Fruit and vegetables for sale in 1983. 

The sale of frozen duck also increased by 70 per cent over Chinese New Year, a Woolworths spokeswoman said.

''You would have been hard-pressed to find bok choy or duck in many stores during the 1980s,'' she said.

The growth of organic food, which is marketed as natural and chemical-free, is expected to grow strongly in the next five years, a separate report released this month by IBIS World showed.

Woolworths holds 38.7 per cent of the supermarket share, the IBIS World report stated. Its main competitor, Wesfarmers, owner of Coles, has 30.1 per cent. Aldi, a reasonably new player in the supermarket industry, holds 4.7 per cent.