Kyle Grice, 14, of Ipswich tries one of McDonalds McOz Burgers with locally grown beetroot.
Kyle Grice, 14, of Ipswich tries one of McDonalds McOz Burgers with locally grown beetroot. David Nielsen

Last hoorah for Heinz beets

THE Lockyer Valley's beetroot industry may be facing an uncertain future but it is going out with a bang.

After Heinz closed the long running Brisbane based cannery beetroot farmers in the Valley, who produce 90% of Australia's beet crop, have been unsure about their future.

However, in the final season of Lockyer Valley, Heinz beetroot has been taken to the nation thanks to the McDonald's McOz burger.

The burger was brought back on the menu only weeks after the final Lockyer Valley beetroot.

McDonalds will avoid having to use imported beetroot on Australia's style burger by taking it off the menu at the end of January.

Beetroot growers body Lockyer Valley Farmers United spokesman Colin Dorber said it was a vote of confidence in the local product.

"Everyone loves beetroot, and especially Lockyer Valley product," he said.

Mr Dorber said if McDonald's wanted to continue to sell the McOz, Lockyer Valley Farmers United would be happy to provide them with beetroot.

"They can buy it direct from us if they want.

"If they gave us a long term contract we could deliver to their specifications."

While Heinz is now out of the picture, Lockyer Valley growers have signed a temporary deal with a cannery in Cowra, NSW to process a small amount of beetroot next season.

Meanwhile plans are in development for a processing plant in the Valley to create other products including relishes and juices.


Fast facts

Beetroots were historically called blood turnips

While canned beetroot is popular in Australia the root is a popular ingredient in soups in eastern Europe and as a spiced side dish in India.

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