HOME BRANDS? YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING
They call these homebrands. You’ve got to be kidding.
A new review shows that the two big supermarket chains are going overseas for ingredients for their homebrand products while Australian produce is being wasted and farmers are missing out on vital income.
Coles and Woolies make a meal out of supporting Australian suppliers, but a new CHOICE Magazine investigation into their homebrand products tells a different story.
Supermarket homebrand products. Image via The Age.
CHOICE reviewed the country of origin of 360 supermarket homebrand products and found that 55 percent of Coles home-brand products and only 38 percent of Woolworths home-brand products were locally made or grown.
This compares with 92 percent of market leader grocery items.
According to CHOICE spokeswoman Ingrid Just, Australian producers have said they are not even being given the opportunity to supply the two chains with produce for tinned and packaged products.
“While it’s clear that Coles and Woolworths support Australian produced products in the fresh food and bakery sections of their stories, it’s a different story when you walk along the aisles,” Ms Just said.
“Coles and Woolies claim their buyers only look to overseas markets when local suppliers are unable to meet customers’ needs,” says Ms Just.
“However, one farmer told us that 70,000 tonnes of vegetables, including onions, potatoes, and carrots will go to waste in Tasmania alone this year.
We have also been told that tenders to supply vegetables for private label products are not being made public, or are often by invitation only,” she said.
CHOICE’s review of the country of origin of packaged, tinned and frozen items found 13 of the 14 Woolworths home-brand frozen vegetable products were sourced from overseas. Additionally, 19 of Woolworth’s 21 home-brand tinned fruit and vegetable products came from overseas.
At Coles, nine of the supermarket’s 13 tinned home-brand fruit and vegetable products came from overseas.
CHOICE called for clearer country of origin labelling.
“Australian shoppers rate local products highly – many feel it’s important to know the food they are buying is made from Australian ingredients and packaged in Australia. The policies and advertising of the big two supermarkets taps into that sentiment, but what you find on the shelves is quite different,” says Ms Just.
Do you buy homebrand products? Is this a problem for you?