Are Coles and Woolworths our new national enemy?

You’re really rallying behind the struggling dairy farmers in Australia, only buying locally produced products in supermarkets and corner stores

You’re really rallying behind the struggling dairy farmers in Australia, only buying locally produced products in supermarkets and corner stores across the country.

Earlier this week the Turnbull Government urged Australians to pay more for fresh milk and not buy the cheap supermarket products in order to support the livelihoods of hundreds of farming families.

It came following news that milk production giants Murray Goulburn and Fonterra slashed the price of milk and milk solids because of a ‘global slump’.

Dairy farmers have called on the Federal Government to investigate the pricing scheme for milk, after the sharp cut in what farmers are being paid started a consumer-driven milk fund by Coles in an effort to help the struggling producers.

However, the major supermarket chain has copped criticism for proposing to launch a new milk brand that will divert 20 cents a litre from sales to an independent dairy industry fund because it was only five years ago that Coles slashed the price of private-label milk to $1 a litre and arguably started a price war on milk across the nation. At the time, Woolworths was quick to follow suit.

Queensland dairy farmer Luke Stock told WIN News it was too early to know how the changes will affect him, but staying viable is always a challenge.

He has watched the $1 a litre milk price war completely change the dairy industry, highlighting the hundreds of Queensland farms alone that have been lost since it was introduced in 2011.

“To walk into Coles and Woolworths and see our product for $1 a litre it’s umm… Sometimes it makes it very difficult to get up in the morning and do what you have to do for the day,” Stock says.

Stock says, “To think that Coles is going to spend $1 or $2 million on producing a new line of milk, to me it’s really like chicken feed” when compared to the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been taken out of the dairy industry since the introduction of $1 a litre.

“They’ve done so much damage to our industry in the last five or six years.”

Australians are sharing pictures on social media of their supermarkets showing empty shelves where local milk products had once been stocked.

Further support has been in the more than 150,000 signatures towards 16-year-old Chloe Scott’s petition over the crisis. The daughter of a dairy farmer from Boorcan in Victoria’s south-west, Chloe Scott has appealed to agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce to take action on the issue.

It has highlighted the power of the people coming together to the aid of Aussie dairy farmers.

Do you support the push to get behind Australian dairy farmers? How have you taken action?

  1. Alan Long  

    Why is it only Coles and Woolworths being mentioned ,what about other supermarkets like IGA ,SPAR etc. and some fruit shops and service stations ,being mentioned as well ?

    • Angelo  

      Because Coles and Woolworths started it and they control 80% of the market. All the other retailers had to follow to stay in business.

  2. Ernie  

    I am a migrant and my wife is. In the 30 years I lived here and the 12 years my wife being here we always buy the brand names to support the local industries. And we encourage all Australian to support the local industries so that the next generation can survive.

  3. Susan eddy  

    Why has it taken this unfortunate saga with milk to wake Australians up. What about the vegetable growers, the orchardists and the meat producers that have had their businesses ruined by the supermarket chains since the introduction of their imported generic brands. Please protect our food chain by buying Australian grown produce first. Is it really necessary to buy asparagus from Peru or Mexico or tinned apricots from South Africa

  4. this is a very hard debate, yes I support our farmers in every way, the $1 a litre of milk has hurt a lot of people but on the other hand it is a god’s send to people who struggle on minimum wage with kids the unemployed with kids, single parents with kids , pensioners etc etc, a 20 cent increase will not really hurt pockets but be mindful dont forget the less fortunate , there are other farmers beside the dairy farmers who need assistance too, fruit growers vegie growers livestock growers , not only do they struggle against mother nature they have to fight politicians who allow cheap imports to satisfy their political donors to the relevant parties , its all about greed, why dont the press make a list of all politicians who have shares or own companies in importing cheap food products ? & shame them


    Always try to buy Norco milk. It is often out of stock or at the back of the top shelf where I can’t reach!

  6. Rosemary  

    I don’t buy milk. It is cruel to take a baby away from the mother in order to steal what was designed for them. They are then, if male dent to slaughter. If female they will be kept pregnant until they are no longer economically viable, then they are killed. This is the industry you are trying to support.

    Please support soy almond and rice farmers. They deserve our support.

    • Just remember what rice does to our water supply, it is a very water hungry crop.and I don’t think it should be grown in most of Australia.

      • So what we do to calves and cows is OK? Of course, I believe rice should be grown in a way that is sustainable and ethical. Do you beilieve in kindness to animals, workers and those around dairy farms (and milk is also bad for the environment).

  7. Nina  

    I buy the cheapest I can in every product, as I live on the miserable Pension.

  8. Len  

    Coles is doing the same in NZ…driving wholesale prices down so growers can hardly make ends meet. And using their bullying tactics to force lower prices.

  9. colin  

    what a lot of nonsense. The farmers have themselves to blame, greed by trade overseas, those markets always dry up. I don’t drink milk as I am a human, but for someone to say rice uses a lot of water, yes but at the sam time have a look at the huge resources the beef and milk industry use…and every one seems to forget Coles is a business not a charity.

  10. Frank  

    an easy assumption that the branded milk pays more to the farmers – but I’d like to know for sure.

    after seeing on TV ACA this story of dairy farmers quitting because Coles/WOW pay less than their cost of production, and how awful if we ended up buying milk from China (melamine poisoning your babies anyone ?), I eschewed my usual $2 for 2 litres of homebrand Woolworths milk and tried a $4.50 for 3 litres of ‘Farmer’s Own, Fresh from Manning Valley – Woolworths Only’ – i.e. I paid $1.50 instead of $1 a litre – 50% more than usual.

    But here’s the thing – tasting the milk – to me it doesn’t taste as nice as the usual WOW homebrand – so now I’m wondering – why should I pay more for milk I like less ?

    Or – if it’s bought from the same rapacious profit-squeezing retailer, how do I know they are kindly paying more to the farmer than for their homebrand ? Of course we’d like to think so – but who knows for sure ?

  11. [email protected]  

    Another thing to consider about Coles and Woolworths is that due to their extensive holdings in the alcohol industry they are in fact the biggest drug dealers in the country! If you think alcohol isn’t the number one drug problem we face consider this – alcohol alone causes around 50% of the costs we incur for both policing and hospitals.

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