”When American-owned Heinz decided to move its beetroot processing facility from Australia to New Zealand causing hundreds of lost jobs, we decided enough is enough.
”So we are fighting back against poor quality imported product.”
Since the story “broke” Dick Smith has made headlines in every major newspaper and news website in Australia talking up his products and vowing not to crumble to the whims of the US food-making giant.
Let me tell you something.
Despite what it may say on the label, there’s nothing at all magnificent about any of the products Dick Smith flogs at customers in supermarket stores around Australia.
They all look like cheap imitations of the real thing and that’s exactly how they taste.
The other day on a whim I bought Dick Smith’s ‘Magnificent Australian Grown Raspberry” a spreadable fruit product that masquerades itself as jam.
I bought it despite it being more expensive than the French-imported St Dalfour brand, which actually has bits of real fruit in it.
You could almost pick up the Dick Smith brand by mistake (no doubt that’s the intention, it’s surely not flattery) as it is in an almost identical jar, has similar labelling and an almost identical list of ingredients.
(This is ironic of course, given Dick Smith’s public tirade against German-owned Aldi, which makes products that mimic more famous brands)
Except of course there’s Dick Smith face trying to be to jam what Paul Newman was to salad dressing.
Dick Smith’s spread sells for $4.61 and St Dalfour’s for $4.29.
I spread both of them on a half of a bagel and munched away.
OK, I am not going to tell you the Dick Smith brand is inedible – that would be only the kind of media stunt he would pull – but it’s decidedly ordinary.
In fact perhaps he could change the name to Dick Smith’s Decidedly Ordinary Australian Grown raspberry spread? At least he’d be poking fun at himself. Hey, he might even sell more products.
But the question must be asked: why is a product made from ingredients grown in Australia and manufactured in Belrose Sydney more expensive than the better tasting French-made product that is made from imported ingredients and flown in from the other side of the world?
But these sorts of things are, I am sure, just silly details for the man who is no doubt lapping up all the media attention generated by his latest spat with Heinz.
The cold, harsh facts are that Dick Smith is a complete hypocrite.
Dick Smith made his millions flogging cheap Asian electronic products at Australian consumers for years, products most likely made by small children in overcrowded sweatshops.
He was happy to flog them and happy to get rich doing so.
Now that he’s flush, he’s conveniently turned himself into a champion of Australian-made products even if they’re more expensive than those made overseas.
Yes he gives the profits earned on these so-called magnificent products to charity (only ocker Australian charities need apply) but unfortunately, he’s used the moral high ground to spread a subtle message of xenophobia, racism and hypocrisy – disguised as being proudly Australian.
He’s a bit like one of those people who waves the Australian flag on Australia Day and talks about how proud they are to be Australian and then picks a fight with an Asian or Muslim while walking home with his mates.
Just watch his banned commercial, which turns the fate of refugees aboard a sinking boat into joke about buying his products and you’ll get the picture.
And how about this page on his website, with its covert anti-Muslim message.
Count how many times the word China pops on the pages of Dicksmithfoods.com.au in reference to foreign ownership of Australian businesses and then try find mention of how Chinese demand for Australian raw minerals has propped up the economy for the last four or five years.
And while he is happy to list all the Australian brands now in the hands of foreign companies, he conveniently fails to make any mention of the Australian mining companies that own mines in Africa, South America, Eastern Europe and Asia helping to generate mega-profits.
Yes Dick is happy to lend his support to Cate Blanchett when she spoke in favour of the carbon tax (though too gutless to actually appear in an ad in support of the tax), but did he have anything to say when his friend Gina Rinehart suggested Australian miners be paid $2 per day like their African counterparts?
Not a word.
But find a story about an Australian buying an Australian business (Dick Smith was happy to lend his support to Rinehart’s failed bid for control of Fairfax, despite the obvious damage it would do the freedom of the press) and Dick Smith will be there wearing his vegemite hat and waving the Australian flag.
The truth is we don’t need Dick Smith jumping up and down from his mansion on the outskirts of Sydney (reached by helicopter no less) telling everyone what they should be buying at Coles and Woolies and not at Aldi or Costco.
We’re smart enough to make our own choices about what we buy and who we buy it from.
I have my own magnificent gesture for Dick Smith, from now on I promise that even if his product is cheaper, tastier and made from ingredients grown in someone backyard down the road, I’ll choose to buy the imported product.
And I’ll shop at Aldi, and buy a BMW (one day) and fly Emirates instead of Qantas, sipping an ice-cold Heineken while dining on Norwegian smoked salmon and perhaps potatoes grown in Idaho.