Products such as Dick Smith's peanut butter should be placed in an Australian-only supermarket aisle according to some farmers. Photo: Virginia Star
Supermarkets should have a designated Australian-only aisle, or aisles, according to a farmer who says the scheme would generate an ''absolutely huge'' boost in sales of locally grown or made goods, protect local jobs and stimulate the economy.
Kathy Dudley, a cattle farmer and spring water producer from Yolla in Tasmania's north-west, said the establishment of Australian-only aisles would sidestep the confusion created by ''weak'' labelling laws that have allowed confusing country-of-origin labels on products.
Many people buy supermarket goods thinking they are Australian, when, in fact, the Australian input is minimal, she said. ''The labels can be misleading.''
Senator Nick Xenophon said Ms Dudley's call showed the level of frustration in the community about food labelling laws.
Leading businessman Dick Smith welcomed Ms Dudley's idea, but suggested there would be opposition from supermarkets and multinational food companies, as well as a lack of political will. ''It would only happen if it was legislated and no politician, I think, would be game to legislate because they would be offending foreign companies that employ huge numbers of Australians,'' he said.
But a Coles spokeswoman did not dismiss Ms Dudley's idea, saying Coles was ''open to new ideas''.
A Woolworths spokeswoman said research showed ''customers like to shop by food or product category in the supermarket''.