--Award-winning Australian pudding producer Pudding Lane points out that there is a lot more to the food miles debate than meets the eye--
Christmas puddings will soon be stocked in supermarkets, delis, bakers and food halls across the country but this year consumers are faced with an ever-growing list of questions as they ponder which pudding to purchase.
We are inundated with messages to ‘buy local’ and ‘avoid food miles’. The Pudding Lane team is proudly Australian and their range of traditional, delicious, individually handmade puddings are rapidly becoming as popular in the UK as they are in Australia, where they are sold across the country.
We are a nation of traditional pudding fans, but we have acknowledged that Aussie company Pudding Lane (http://www.puddinglane.uk.com) make a great pudding by awarding the company a gold medal, at the Oscars of the foodie world, the UK Great Taste Awards. Pudding Lane CEO Michael Jameson said that this is the first time in the 15 year history of the prestigious awards that a company outside of UK/ Europe has been awarded a gold medal for puddings.
“I think we really stood out in a market full of middle-of-the-road, mass produced and marketed puddings - people just want and appreciate better quality,” said Jameson.
“We won the award for a truly Australian pudding, our boiled in the cloth, handmade, Macadamia and Brandy Pudding. A product that is 100% Australian, made from the best local ingredients including macadamias from Queensland and brandy from the Barossa Valley. We are represented by the only the finest food providers in the UK such as Berry Bros & Rudd and even Nigella Lawson is a big fan. I got a lovely letter from her praising our puddings as ‘fabulous’,” Jameson added.
The company only sent its first shipment to the UK for Christmas 2007 but already has its sights set on sending six to eight tonnes by the end of this year. In 2006, a total of 49.7 tonnes of handmade puddings were produced, 65 tonnes for Christmas 2007 and the 2008 forecast is 80 tonnes. Pudding Lane has grown so rapidly that the company has invested in the construction of a new pudding kitchen to increase capacity to more than 200 tonnes of handmade puddings. When complete, it will be the first pudding kitchen of its kind in Australia.
Environmental ethics are the top priority
Having already established rigorous production methods to create the highest quality, individually handmade puddings to traditional recipes, environmental ethics are firmly on the priority list for the company. Pudding Lane has set exacting standards with its environmental and corporate social responsibility policies. Its packaging is made from 100% recycled material and is hand-stitched by a local Australian charity group called The House with No Steps. The only disposable part of the pudding making process is a short piece of twine used to tie the pudding cloth for cooking. Pudding Lane recycles 100% of any cardboard and paper packaging (i.e. flour bags, fruit & egg cartons) created in making the puddings and uses specially designed environmentally-friendly gas fired coppers. The company does not use any automated processes, no production lines, no electric steam ovens, no plastic basins, plastic bowls or moulds to shape the puddings. The team also supports as many local producers/businesses as they can such as local bakeries and egg suppliers.
Pudding Lane is keen to expand the food mile debate in both Australia and the UK, so people can also consider the environmental impact of the entire product lifecycle from paddock to plate, rather than focusing solely on food miles. Food miles is, of course, a major issue but the method of production and origin of ingredients are imperative factors that many companies appear to be over-looking: sending mixed messages to consumers.
Austrade Chief Economist Tim Harcourt congratulated Pudding Lane for winning the Great Taste Award in an incredibly competitive market. “Pudding Lane really are producers of the ‘magic pudding’- taking a fantastic product from regional Australia and competing successfully in an incredibly competitive and saturated market,” said Harcourt.
“They are pioneers who have really listened to what the UK market wants and provided a product with an unblemished and quality provenance. They are innovators, at the forefront of minimising their carbon footprint, and using that as a marketing point of difference to a highly environmentally engaged UK customer.
“It’s a model that many Australian businesses could learn from and with the growing concern in the UK and many European countries about food miles it’s very important for businesses wanting to compete there to be able to articulate their sustainability position.”
Notes to Editors:
Each pudding is individually formed and shaped into lined, natural boiling cloths and "boiled-in-the-cloth" for many hours before being individually hung to dry, age and mature. This traditional production method ensures each pudding is one of a kind. All puddings are available in sizes from 500g to 3kg.
If you would like an interview with the CEO of Pudding Lane to discuss the food miles issue, you require more information about the range or photography, please contact:
Helen Lewis at food&drink towers, 07904 801669, firstname.lastname@example.org
Pudding Lane, Unit 2, 56 Industrial Drive, Mayfield East, Newcastle City, New South Wales, Australia
+61 (02) 4954 7372
Pudding Lane awards:
UK Gold Great Taste Award 2008
Australian Food Challenge Award Winner 2007
Most Outstanding Specialised Business 2007
HACCP Certified Guaranteeing Quality & Service
Australian Food Challenge Award Winner 2006
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