Monday, July 22, 2024

Harris Farm Markets eliminates artificial colours from shelves

Following a five-year process working with suppliers, Harris Farm Markets has announced there are no more artificial colours on shelves in any of its stores across the country.

“This makes Harris Farm Markets the only major grocery provider in the country with this commitment,” according to the retailer.

“There’s no more Erythrosine (don’t try and pronounce this one), no more Tartrazine E102 (ditto), no more weird compounds added to make food look more ‘appealing’. Nope, on the shelves at Harris Farm Markets is food as it should be – perfectly driven and coloured by nature”.

Harris Farm Markets co-CEO Tristan Harris says the process to holistically remove artificial colours from the business and introduce a new Sourcing Policy was highly involved.

“For over 50 years Harris Farm Markets have been delivering goodness to Australian families. To continue to do this, we knew we needed to eliminate artificial colours from our shelves. So, for the past five years we have been working with our suppliers, to find new methods of production if needed and alternative ingredients if required. Now, our pasta sauces, dips, juices, peanut butter, cookie dough, curry pastes, chocolates, soups, noodles and even orange juices just to name a few, are all free of artificial colouring”, Mr Harris said.

“Lots of suppliers told us they had wanted to take artificial colours out of their businesses for a long time, so our decision sped up theirs. We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved with suppliers like The Market Grocer, Koko Black, Fresh Fodder, Salumi and of course, the acclaimed pastry chef Anna Polyviou. It has meant however, that some product lines have been eliminated, because we have to stand firm on our commitment”.

“We take immense pride in what we sell, and even more pride in what we don’t sell, and from now on, we don’t sell food with artificial colours. We are also incredibly proud to be the only major grocery provider in the country to be now artificial colour free”, he said.

“Anything artificial colours can do, nature can do better. Nature’s colours are bold and beautiful – just look at our in-season tomatoes, a ripe orange, a freshly cut beetroot, a just-picked lemon or a full head of broccoli. Nature doesn’t need help making colours brighter – just spill some turmeric and you’ll see!”

“The Covid-19 pandemic fine-focused Australians on health and immunity, and has instigated a return to home cooking, which in turn has increased everyone’s understanding of how foods impact health. There’s more reading of labels, more questioning of provenance, and a much deeper understanding of where food comes from now. We applaud this; our new Sourcing Policy means a healthier and cleaner alternative for families every day. It means we are now both driven and coloured by nature”, Mr Harris said.

He said the company had been working closely with suppliers behind the scenes for five years, to support changes in production processes, to enable a continuation of supply relationships.

Mr Harris also said transparency in 2023 was important. “In an increasingly hyper-sensitive price-driven economy, we want to show the ‘how’ and ‘why’ behind our products and their pricing, and to encourage customers to embrace value, with values. Eliminating artificial colours, treating farmers and suppliers fairly and as partners, supporting ethical farming and food management practices, and championing Imperfect Picks are all key initiatives for us.”

Award-winning pastry chef Anna Polyviou says being part of Harris Farms’ Coloured by Nature commitment meant a whole new journey for her and her team, one that had its challenges.

“I learnt of Harris Farms’ Coloured by Nature commitment when I first tried to get my products on their shelves. By being knocked back initially, I learnt about Harris Farms’ standards, and if I wanted to be a supplier, I needed to meet those. It was a whole new ballgame for me and my team”, she said. “For our Triple Choc and Choc Brownie Cookie Dough products, we had to change the white chocolate we used, to one that was completely natural. Even though it was a tiny additive that was the issue, it was still an issue. It was the same with the Peanut Butter we used for our Peanut Butter Fudge”.

“The team at Harris Farm worked with us, they nurtured us, they said ‘allow us to help you’ which was unique. It also started a domino effect, and made us research more about ingredients, and about the products that go into our products. The result is a product that is loved by everybody”, Ms Polyviou said.

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