Australian Bush Spices take centre stage

Restaurants have long been making good use of native Australian foods and botanicals, but Byron Bay company Australian Bush Spices is making it easy for consumers to enjoy native Australian ingredients at home.

Utilising bush foods like native finger lime, lemon myrtle and strawberry gum, the unique spice blends are versatile enough to be used across a range of dishes. Each blend is colour-coded according to how it’s best used, whether it be with red or white meat, in a dessert, or on a salad.

The Red Meat Blend combines native bush tomato with mountain pepper berry to complement beef or kangaroo; the Pink Sweet Dusting uses bunya and macadamia nuts, quandong, lemon myrtle and cinnamon, making it a great addition to sweet dishes; and the Yellow Bush Dukkah marries wattle seed, macadamia nut and lemon myrtle to create a zesty blend perfect for snacking.

The Australian Bush Spices range taps into the growing popularity of native Australian foods, but it’s not just the culinary space taking them on – they’re fast becoming star ingredients across functional foods and natural beauty products.

Demand for native ingredients is increasing locally across the nutraceutical, pharmaceutical and supplement market, thanks to their nutritional and cosmetic benefits. Some native foods (including the Kakadu plum and quandong) have revealed better antioxidant qualities than blueberries, and many others show high levels of vitamin C, magnesium, zinc, calcium, lutein, folate and more.

And their popularity is expected to rise overseas as well. Asia is already showing keen interest in using native foods for culinary and nutraceutical use. Countries such as Korea, Japan and France have tapped into lemon myrtle exports, with Korea being the biggest market for herbal tea. Finger limes are exported to the European Union, and the US market is taking on Australian native foods for use in nutraceuticals.

In anticipation of the industry’s growth, a landmark project to expand the local Kakadu plum industry has just been announced, meaning it could be the first Indigenous horticulture product to be harvested on a large scale. University researchers and other organisations are set to begin a three-year, $2.7 million project that will see them working with Aboriginal communities and corporations to look at the current and future potential of the Kakadu plum industry. The project will also try to tap into the US$130 billion global functional foods market and expand the fruit’s uses beyond cosmetics and food products.

With growing demand across the culinary, nutraceutical and cosmetic industries, it’s looking to be the year of the native Australian spice.