BATTLE OF THE BRANDS
As news emerges that Coles and Woolworths have lodged hundreds of trademark applications for new home brand goods, the wise words of our Hoopla community have never seemed more timely.
When The Hoopla asked its first ever Highwire question – How ethical is your food basket - the Woolworths/Coles duopoly emerged as a major concern.
Author Mary Moody said it was difficult for any Australian consumer to have an ethical shopping basket “as long as the two major supermarkets continue to have such a monopoly on our spending dollar”.
And our shopping choices seem destined to be squeezed even further, reports The Sydney Morning Herald, with the supermarkets lodging applications for goods ranging from organic food, hardware, baby products, liquor, bed linen and cosmetics.
It’s a strategy that will put even more pressure on brand owners and manufacturers.
The global food manufacturer Heinz has already criticised the supermarkets for their growing dominance of home brands and heavy discounting, calling Australia the ”worst market” and an ”inhospitable environment” for suppliers, says the Herald.
It’s a scenario Mary (left) has witnessed first hand:
“Living near a country town (Bathurst) it’s sad to see so many small locally owned businesses going down the drain while the huge supermarkets continue to thrive and expand,” she said.
“There were eight butcher shops when we moved here 10 years ago and now there are only two.
“And they are struggling. I am sure it’s the same everywhere. I say bring back the greengrocer and fishmonger and encourage more farmer’s markets.”
It is a concern echoed by former politician and Director of Social Business at the Centre for Social Impact at NSW University, Cheryl Kernot, a committed purchaser of Fair Trade products.
She gets around the issue of the supermarket duopoly in fresh fruit and vegetables by buying from Food Connect Sydney, “the offspring of the original Food Connect in Brisbane – whose vision is to be a leader in making ethically grown food from local farmers accessible to any household in Sydney”.
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