Why Australian Native Ingredients?
When conducting our research and development back in 2018 Australia was in the grip of one of our worst droughts in centuries. At the top of the news cycle was water use, environmental drivers causing the drought such as climate change, and the need for the human race to take action now.
Around the same time my Father organised a walk with a local Indigenous man called Lionel Lauch, a Gunditjmara Kirrae Wurrung-Bundjalung man. Lionel is Founder and CEO of an organisation on the Mornington Peninsula called Living Culture. Living Culture provide a doorway to educate people about the importance of keeping Aboriginal culture alive.
Lionel took my father, my brother and I on a guided walk, sharing some of his rich cultural knowledge about the region and the native plants growing where we were walking. He spoke about nature like it is a supermarket and informed us on some of the many edible plants, leaves and berries that had sustained First Nations people and been utilised as a food source and medicinal source for millennia. I was amazed as I had run along these same tracks for years and was never aware of this the abundance that I was passing.
Lionel Lauch performing a Cleansing ceremony at our launch party in 2019
Native plants are unique because they are perfectly suited to the environment that they belong to. This means that they should survive on local rainfall patterns and in the local soil. Minimising water use, pesticide and herbicide practices in production. Better for the environment, better for the farmer, better for the consumer.
From a health and sustenance perspective Native Australian plants are packed with nutritional benefits. Studies have confirmed high levels of vitamins and minerals across different species. In such concentrated quantities that small amounts well surpass other introduced fruit and plant species. Antioxidants, vitamins and minerals such as calcium, lutein, vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, Iron, potassium to name a few. The concentrations vary depending plant species, we detail those contained within the plants we use on our product pages.
For us, this unveiled information sparked an inquiry to investigate the native botanicals that could be used in a beverage and led my wife Andy and I to thinking about what role we could we play as a brand to support a supply chain of change, and raise awareness to consumers.
ETCH Sparkling beverages are inspired by the native environment
Whilst Andy and I are not Indigenous, we acknowledge the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, their connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.
Our native plants have been understood and curated under the custodianship of First Nations people for millennia.
Through our learning, our teaching, our purchasing, partnerships and memberships we actively engage in the conversation and action to continue a pathway of shared culture with respect and acknowledgment.
Yours in good health,
Co founder ETCH Sparkling