Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Food miles

it looks as though NZ is on the receiving end of a submarine marketing campaign. Check this out from The Guardian newspaper today:

The Village Press extra virgin olive oil

I've no doubt that it complements "the strong flavours of vine ripened tomatoes, rubbed garlic and fresh torn basil", as it says on the bottle. My only problem with this oil is where it comes from: New Zealand. That's much too far away, and at £5.99 for half a litre my contribution to its air fare amounts to collusion. In New Zealand a local oil makes perfect sense, but we already have the finest olive oil imaginable available much closer to home. Why bother? I know you could make the same argument for wine, but this is a fresh crime, and there is no material advantage to shipping olive oil halfway round the world that I can see. I suppose one might argue that the reversal of the seasons in the southern hemisphere makes it possible to get freshly pressed oil at the wrong time of year, to which I would say - don't even start. Is there a more needlessly extravagant way to supply people with olive oil?

goes well with the infamous Kiwifruit quote from the Stern climate change economics report yesterday. Why do they assume NZ flies everything to Europe? perhaps that's how they move all the fruit and veg from Spain to Tesco's and they can't figure out that shipping is a fairly efficient and very cheap form of transport.
NZ better start waking up to this, it's the new form of protectionism, but hey maybe in the 2025 round of Doha Mk IV we'll get free access...


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