At what point do you put yourself first at the detriment of others? 52



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You wouldn’t eat a piece of food if we knew someone beside us was starving, you’d share it. You wouldn’t push someone out of a line to get closer to the front, you’d wait your turn. You wouldn’t leave a lost dog on its own because you’re running late, you’d stop and help it. For the most part, humans are taught compassion and to put others needs before or at the very least, alongside ours. So when we cry out for cheaper prices at the supermarket, why don’t we stop to think about the farmers who really are losing out?

This week George Weston Foods, one of Australia’s largest bakers, has publicly said that the current price war between Coles and Woolworths on bread is unsustainable for the industry. Since the market share driven price war began, the bread market has lost about $100 million in value. Fairfax media covered the story in depth yet the coverage was so in-depth about the consumer – what about the people who are losing that $100 million?

Andrew Reeves, CEO of George Weston Foods said, “There’s been on average a 10% reduction in the price of bread, which is very significant…”

“I don’t believe he current level of pricing is sustainable for the health of the category”.

If the price of bread has gone down by 10 per cent, then the consumer price edges closer to the production costs. Ultimately, grain from the farmers loses value and what once was enough to live off, may no longer be the case.

Australia’s farming and agriculture industry is arguably the backbone of the country – we wouldn’t be anywhere without it. It’s part of who we are to want to be generous to them and make sure that their industries are strong. But there comes a point when that is all too difficult, especially on a pension.

At the time of writing this, a loaf of white bread from Coles is $0.85. In contrast, a load of Grandma Moses white bread is $4.70. When your weekly income doesn’t stretch very far, every saving is needed and sometimes that means that the extra $3 that could be spent on more expensive, industry supportive bread just isn’t available.

We saw something similar with the milk wars of a few years ago, when the dairy farmers lost out hugely. And while the grain industry has a safety blanket in the bulk export market, it’s still a moral dilemma that so many Australian over 60s face every trip to the supermarket.

So when you’re faced with it, what do you do? Could you comfortably pay more for bread if you knew that it would help a farmer somewhere out there? Or is this a case when you have to put yourself first, even if it means someone out there loses? Share your thoughts in the comments below…

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  1. We do not buy the cheaper bread but I understand for many it is not a choice they can make because every penny counts I have been there and would have bought the cheaper loaf just to get by so understand both sides.

  2. This low priced bread has been on the supermarket shelves as long as the low priced milk has been. I don’t buy it mainly because it is not as good as the Wonder Bread I buy. Wonder is more expensive but it stays fresher longer so it is a better deal for me and I don’t eat a lot of bread. But it does help many on low incomes, especially those with children’s lunches to make.

    1 REPLY
  3. I don’t buy it, but why can’t the supermarket take the cut in profits instead of the provider.

  4. I am not sure that the cheap prices in super markets have much of an effect on farmers as such. It is minimal at best. What does effect farmers is high production costs and costs passed back to the farm by excessive costs after the farm gate. This combined with the fact that we have huge amounts of imported food on our supermarket shelves to satisfy a growing demand from our migrant population. We love the abundance and variety of food from overseas that has enhanced our food culture but sadly our local farmers are effected.
    We should at least try to buy Aussie products when ever they are available but even with the best of intentions it seems our choices are effected by other influences.

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    • Rod Faithful you say you are not sure if…. Then state something as a fact. It seems logical to me that if a supermarket puts out cheap products, they have paid less for them. I expect that is one reason why farmers markets and farm gate sales have grown so popular.

  5. I only eat Rye bread I don’t like the low priced bread but understand some people are struggling

  6. Exactly how will the purchase of higher priced bread make the supermarkets stop their price war ? If price wars are detrimental to the country then they should be stopped by legislated code of conduct for super markets, not by asking pensioners to buy more expensive bread.

  7. Wonder what would happen if all the growers could hold back their grain for a month, would that affect our daily bread?

  8. Choosing the cheap bread is hardly selfish when you are struggling to feed your family. I only have myself to worry about I choose to shop at the local bakery. The two big supermarkets have a lot to answer for.

  9. i support my local Foodland & cheap is sometimes inferior quality.

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    • I think my local is foodworks and sometimes I buy at the local fruit barn and they have bread made at a local bakery. I have a lot of time for independent retailers and they work so hard to keep the doors open.

  10. I don’t like the cheap bread , so I buy the dearer bread , but when my husband went shopping he was buying the cheaper and I had words and said no more get the dearer one , he now gets it. But insists on cheap milk,, so when I buy I get the better milk ,

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