“Eating local” is rather hard in Hong Kong where farmland is limited and population is high. Most food is imported. Much comes from Mainland China, but food scares (melamine in milk, reports high levels of pesticides in some foods, etc) have encouraged some folks to pay a premium for foods that come from further afield.
Milk is an interesting example. There is only one dairy farm left in Hong Kong (in the New Territories) and it sells its precious organic, glass pints of milk for a premium at only a few places. All the other milk is imported. Traditional Hong Kong brands, Kowloon Dairy and Trappist, shifted their dairy herds to nearby Guangdong, China (the milk is then imported to Hong Kong for processing and packaging).
Lots of milk is imported from further, especially from Australia, New Zealand and even California. “Safety” and “wholesomeness” is the marketing angle.
But this spin-doctored label, from “Greenfields Milk,” especially caught my eye:
Why in the world would it matter that the cows–who are currently living and being fed and milked in Indonesia–were originally from Australia? A breathtaking marketing gimmick! Kudos PR team! This milk is from “safe” Australian dairy cows on holiday in Malang, Indonesia.
Reminds me of all those Apple products that say: “Design by Apple, Cupertino, California; Made in China.”
Similar to this IKEA chair:
However, I’d never seen this kind of marketing machination applied to fresh milk before. Indonesian milk produced from “dairy cows imported from Australia” is a whole other level of smoke and mirrors.
(For an interesting article on local food production in Hong Kong, including farmers’ markets and the one local dairy, see this CNN article.)