On the Soapbox – Supermarkets

Is anyone else worried about what is going on with our supermarkets ? Like a George Orwell novel, it seems we are losing control of choice.  Its happening right under our noses and we aren’t even realising.

You would have to be living under a rock in Australia at the moment not to notice the supermarket wars happening between Coles and Woolworths.  Most recent, was cutting the price of milk to a ridiculously low price and followed by slashing the price of bread.

The impact this is having on our dairy farmers (for one) is obviously the cause of much debate. Price cutting continues on more and more products as we start to wonder the long-term implications.  As consumers, we should be kicking up our heels with delight as, for once, we are the winners in the war between two major retailers.  But there is more at stake than a few pennies in the hip pocket.

Here is where our loss of choice comes in. As we are attracted to the cheaper prices, more and more, the big 2 (Coles and Woolworths) are implementing their own brands.  I’m noticing they are giving their own brands more facings which means the home brand has a greater share of shelf space.

Alarmingly, I see that the products I usually buy are sold out and their shelf space empty, but the Coles branded product has lots of stock …..and guess what – I’m forced to buy that one.   It is getting harder and harder to buy the brand I want.

Last week, I wasn’t able to buy White Wings cornflour.  It wasn’t even sold out.  It is a deleted item. In its place was the Coles brand.

The success of Aldi, which is built on cheaper, 100% home brand products has meant that Coles/WW need to compete..  To be honest, a lot of the Coles (or WW) branded stuff I’ve tried, is good.  But that’s not the point. I want choice.  I want variety.

I want to know what impact this is going to have on our economy? How many jobs are going to be lost ??  How many businesses are going to go down the gurgler by losing distribution of their products to a major retailer ?

Maybe it will, or maybe it won’t.  Maybe retailers will  increase prices of other items to subside the cheaper prices on a few of the heavily discounted staples.  But for certain, it will put pressure on smaller retailers, who just can’t compete.

It must be starting to impact on those farmers and suppliers who are continuing to battle with conditions like the GFC, draught, floods and the big chains buying cheaper imports.  What happens to their livelihood ?

We are small fish in a big pond.  But take notice next time you shop and tell me, does it concern you?  Are you afraid of losing your ability to choose the products you want to buy? Are you worried about how this will impact small business and thus our economy?

…..stepping off the soapbox now, thanks for listening  🙂

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About Soul Kitchen Blog

Welcome to Soul Kitchen Blog. Sure food ultimately is fuel for the body but made with love is so much more and truly nourishes the soul. As cliche as it sounds, life really is too short to eat bad food and drink bad wine. I have a passion for cooking and a love of good food. I am committed to my quest of searching for fabulous recipes that just so happen to be gluten free. In recent years I discovered that I have intolerance to gluten and whilst its changed my eating habits somewhat, I refuse to allow it to limit my choices to eat well or make those that I cook for feel that they are missing out on anything. My mandate is simple... Feed the body and nourish the soul. I look forward to sharing my journey with you ....
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2 Responses to On the Soapbox – Supermarkets

  1. Hayley says:

    ….and you’ve only got to look at the UK to see where we are likely to end up.

    Gone are the small independent grocers, deli’s and fresh fruit markets. It’s now virtually impossible to “buy local” over there. The big four supermarkets scavenge the world for the cheapest supplies, with little regard to supporting the local farmers, or consideration of the global footprint left by hauling the produce thousands of kilometres.

    • Scary isn’t it and the reality is that it seems this is way things are heading here. Its a massive concern. Funnily enough I notice there is a story tonight on ACA (or Today Tonight) about home brands taking over and the lack of choice it brings. Will watch with interest – hopefully it might help to bring some awareness to the issue.

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