Coles chief Steven McCain says that supply chains are intact despite a spot of bother with refrigeration parts from China.
Supermarket growth is up. Coles' liquor business has noted a 30 per cent growth in sales of gin. Rosé-style wine is booming.
Could there be a connection with our current troubles? Gin is easily explained - social media advised that gin, used as an antiseptic, is effective against coronavirus! Having wasted gin on cleaning, would a glass or two of rosé be just what you need while you self-isolate?
But seriously, is the COVID-19 pandemic the wake-up call that Australia had to have?
Is the panic buying of toilet paper a sign that consumer confidence in Australia's industrial capacity has finally reached the bottom?
Manufacturing should be the backbone of this country. The coronavirus scare has shown that we can't be self-sufficient, even in an emergency.
A job in a factory was once the first step to financial and social independence in a new country for non-English speaking migrants. Manufacturing is more than a feeling of national pride, it is a key to our survival.
How can foodstuffs like rice be in short supply?
The answer is on your grocery store's shelves. Imported foodstuffs have been allowed to displace Australian growers. Plantings have been restricted by limited irrigation water allocations and high prices. Reduced acreage of rice planted is evidence of our food security folly.
Look closely when you do your next shop. Common grocery items like cans of baked beans are made in Italy or New Zealand, unless you buy SPC. But look carefully at the label - 49 per cent Australian made. Can't we grow navy beans in Australia?
Milk and milk products are not all made here. Much now comes from NZ or, in the case of butter, Denmark! Only last year, Bega pleaded for a bigger peanut crop to supply its peanut butter needs, saying that not enough peanuts were being planted in Australia to meet demand.
Buy a bag of salted peanuts, and note the country of origin. In my search, only the JCs and Best Buy brands sold at Foodworks can claim Australian grown. Woolworths peanuts are "packed in Australia from less that 10 per cent Australian ingredients".
But seriously, is the COVID-19 pandemic the wake-up call that Australia had to have? Is the panic buying of toilet paper a sign that consumer confidence in Australia's industrial capacity has finally reached the bottom? Manufacturing should be the backbone of this country.
Woolworths shelled almonds and walnuts are grown in Australia, but their Brazil nuts are "imported" (no country of origin on the label). Nice and Natural Nut Bars and Weight Watchers are from New Zealand, K Time Baked Twists from Malaysia, but Carman's bars are made here.
So are Uncle Toby's, but since that company is now owned by Nestlé what does the future hold?
Talking about snacks, Angus Park, once a brand that marketed quality South Australian dried fruits, now boasts "less than 10 per cent Australian ingredients" on their apricots, and 30 per cent on their packs of fruit salad! What happened to Australian growers?
Fancy some soup? Heinz soups are made in NZ, but Campbells Soups are labelled "proudly made in country Victoria". Yet, their asparagus soup is only 70 per cent Australian ingredients! I can remember when the Jugiong river flats supplied asparagus to Batlow's Mountain Maid. Back then, it was by far the superior brand. Plastic lunch wraps are all made overseas as far as I can tell. OSO and Glad sandwich bags and similar products are made in places like China and Thailand, but Multix baking wrap is now "made from quality European paper".
Redhead matches are made in Sweden. Finish dishwasher tablets and Vanish laundry detergent comes from Poland.
Lights gone out? All globes and fluorescent tubes were once made in Australia. Now it's China. Toothpaste and toothbrushes? Try finding an Australian product.
Every crisis has a purpose. The bushfires showed how ill-prepared we were for what became a disastrous season.
COVID-19 has shown us how vulnerable Australia is.
Even ingredients for vital everyday medicines are imported.
Sustainability has taken on a whole new meaning. It is the ability of Australia to be self-sufficient, to produce the goods we need to sustain health, feed ourselves, and protect what we take for granted as our Australian way of life - perhaps even life itself.