Cider Australia is pushing for clearer country of origin labelling on cider bottles, as the Federal Parliament’s labelling inquiry heads to Melbourne this month.
At recent hearings in Sydney and Canberra, industry groups said current labelling is too confusing for customers, ABC Rural reports.
Cider Australia president Sam Reid said consumers should be able to identify what they're buying.
"We estimate that in Australia probably 50 to 60 per cent of all cider is manufactured using foreign concentrate, most of that coming from China,” Reid said. "We just want to even up the playing field, to make sure that people are really aware of what it is they're putting in their body."
Reid says whether the apples used to make the cider are from Australia, New Zealand, England or China, it needs to be clearly labelled on the bottle.
For New Zealand cider makers, discussions around country of origin labelling is still in its infancy.
Justin Hall, managing director of the Redwood Cider Company and a member of New Zealand's Fruit Wine and Cider Makers Association, says he'll be watching Australia's labelling regulations with interest.
"It's a hot topic right across the food industry in New Zealand. It's early days in the conversation. It's only been raised in roundtable discussions within our own association and we haven't made any formal submissions. But we think its probably going to be a positive for us."
He estimates 90 per cent of New Zealand's cider is made from local fruit.
Last month, the Australian Made campaign's chief executive Ian Harrison, together with compliance and policy manager Lisa Crowe, appeared before the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Agriculture and Industry in Canberra and gave evidence to into its country of origin food labelling inquiry.
Harrison and Crowe made recommendations to the committee on how food labelling laws could be improved to support Australian growers and manufacturers and stated that an effective country-of-origin labelling system that is both understood and trusted by consumers, will help combat companies that are “attempting to mislead consumers regarding their products’ true country-of-origin.”