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Retail giant catches on to Australian taste

SUPERMARKET giant Coles is developing the commercial production of bush tucker with the launch of its Taste Australia range earlier this year.

The range has been created with the cooperation of more than 40 Aboriginal communi-ties in central and southern Australia.

Coles managing director Gerry Masters last month announced $40,000 in grants from the Coles Indigenous Food Fund Advisory Committee, which receives 25 cents from the sale of each product in the Taste Australia range.

Mr Masters says the grants will improve supply lines and encourage continued participation of Aboriginal comm-unities in the industry.

“The grants will be used to supply equipment and fund research, and grant recipients will work with Coles’ suppliers to improve cultivation, harvesting and native species propagation across Australia,” he says. “Coles’ Taste Australia products have been popular with customers because they are genuinely Australian, have fabulous flavours and are versatile enough to use in most meals.”

The Taste Australia range, which was launched in March this year as part of Adelaide’s Tasting Australia Festival, is available in more than 120 stores across Australia, including 17 in WA.

The range includes relishes, chutneys, jams, simmer sauces and native herbs.

The grant recipients include the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Womens Coun-cil (NPY), Outback Bushfoods and the CSIRO, in partnership with a number of Aboriginal communities.

The NPY was formed in 1980 and now works in partnership with Outback Bushfoods to facilitate the harvest of bush tucker by indigenous women and their families.

NPY’s grant will be used to purchase a milling machine and roasting oven to process acacia (wattleseed), which will enable the council to meet supply orders for downstream pro-cessing.

Outback Bushfoods, a small enterprise based in Alice Springs, is developing the commercial potential of central Australian bush tucker through the coordination of wild harvest and the development of horticultural systems suitable for

use in Aboriginal communities.

The wild harvest currently involves more than 250 workers from more than 30 Aboriginal communities across the east part of Western Australia, the southern half of the Northern Territory and northern South Australia.

Outback Bushfoods will use its grant to purchase a seed-cleaning machine, reducing costs by eliminating the need to outsource the process.

The other grant recipient, CSIRO, is working with Aboriginal communities to hold field trials of eight bush tucker species so that production can be taken from wild harvest to cultivation, providing valuable field trial experience for indigenous cooperators.

The bush foods being trialled include riberry, native citrus, mountain pepper and quandong.

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