A BROWNES truck collected foreign yoghurt containers from Margaret River on Monday as the official “use-by” date for imported dairy products was declared.
Led by WA’s largest dairy producer, Brownes, the campaign has been on television and radio in aim to encourage West Australians to stop buying imported products in support of the local industry.
The official date to get rid of these products was November 3 and a team from Brownes have been driving through WA to collect the containers.
Brownes managing director Ben Purcell said, “We’re trying to raise awareness that WA farmers make the best milk in the entire world in terms of quality.”
“In comparison, Europe’s grade 1 milk is grade 2 here,” he said.
Brownes has asked people to bring forward their empty foreign containers – brands such as Ski and Yoplait – in exchange for fresh Brownes yoghurt.
Ben said of the foreign products, “People don’t realise all this stuff is collecting miles and it’s not as fresh. It’s three or four days older.”
He estimated that about 300 million litres of milk is imported from the eastern states each year and the number of dairy farmers in WA has more than halved in the past ten years as a result.
Buying imported products “is not good for local farmers who are struggling to get by”.
There are currently 61 Brownes dairy farmers in the South West region.
Robert Poole, a Brownes farmer from Yelverton who featured in the Brownes television campaign, said, “I like to think that the consumer will become aware that local milk is a lot fresher and better for them.”
After already passing through towns including Perth, Mandurah and Busselton, Ben and his team plan to drive the truck through to Esperance before heading to Victoria on Friday night “to dump it where it belongs”, he said.
“My little truck will probably pass big trucks from over east (who are trying to deliver their produce).”
He said the response has been great so far, and it shows the start of a movement as consumers are expected to choose to support their state farmers.
“You can tell people are taking joy in throwing the foreign containers in the rubbish.
“They’re thinking,‘This is a little thing I’m doing to support my community’.”
With huge text on the truck that reads, ‘Driving imported yoghurt out of WA’, the campaign journey deliberately has a strong message.
“You can see we’ve got a bit of a military theme to what we’re doing,” Ben said, pointing to the camouflage truck and his clothing.
“We just need to continue momentum.”