An image of a Tasmanian farmer has been used by Simplot to sell packages of frozen peas from New Zealand.
Birdseye frozen peas, a Simplot Australia brand, features photographs of Tasmanian and Australian farmers on the back of its packaging.
However, strong demand for peas has led to a shortage of Australian product, and during the shortfall, New Zealand producers have been supplying the frozen peas.
IN OTHER NEWS:
The packaging has changed on the front to say 'Field Fresh' instead of 'Australian Grown', but the back of the packaging still features images of the farmers.
Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers pea council chairman Will Green said the farmers involved were not pleased with their images used to sell a foreign product.
"They gave their consent for their images to be used about five or six years ago for the campaign branding, when there was a real push to encourage consumers to buy Australian grown products," he said.
However, he said the farmers he'd spoken to recently were not happy their likenesses used to sell foreign peas.
He said it seemed like an unfortunate marketing decision on Simplot's behalf, but the TFGA was seeking an explanation.
An image of the peas was circulating online after Meander Valley councillor Stephanie Cameron shared it to her page.
"I am a big believer in buying Australian," she wrote.
"But come on Birds Eye Australia and New Zealand, you have sneakily removed 'Australian Grown' and substituted it for 'Field Fresh' but you left our Tasmanian farmer in your advertising."
A Simplot spokeswoman said the packaging changes were made in October and the supply was due to strong demand.
She said while the image on the back "was an Australian farmer" the back of the pack didn't reference his origin.
The farmer on the pack is understood to be Robbie Tole, a pea farmer from Cressy.
The Simplot spokeswoman said the shortage of peas was due to an increase in demand, exacerbated by COVID-19.
"This demand occurred after the 2019 pea harvest, therefore the ability to access additional Australian pea volumes is limited. This has meant we have needed to temporarily source top up volumes to ensure Australian consumers have peas available at the back end of the season," she said.
The spokeswoman said during times when there was a shortage of product Simplot "leveraged longstanding relationships with trusted overseas farmers."
Simplot said all labelling on its frozen vegetable range complied with Australian and New Zealand standards.