Last week major supermarkets Aldi, Woolworths and Coles announced they were increasing the price on all varieties of their branded fresh milk with 1L bottles now selling for $1.29, 2L at $2.39 and 3L at $3.59. After removing the $1 litre milk retail price cap earlier this year, this is another positive step for dairy farmers across Queensland, who have endured eight years of unsustainable milk prices while key input costs including electricity, water and feed have risen significantly.
These constant price wars between our major supermarkets, while a fundamental tenant of capitalism, devalue food in the consumers’ mind as it gives people a false sense of what it cost to produce it at the standard they are used to. Price ceilings and heavily discounted agricultural produce have set an unrealistic price bias in consumers’ minds, and according to recent analysis by market researchers Ibis World, has led to “untenably low margins” for these same retailers.
Supermarkets are now bolstering their bottom lines by “shifting away from discounting and towards profit” with competition becoming more “rational” in the grocery sector and specials down by 17 per cent, which should only lead to one thing: higher prices.
Farmers in this country are among the world’s best at growing food, fibre and amenity to the highest quality and ethical standards. As a major link to consumers, supermarkets have a key role to play in educating them of this fact and ensuring they are not misled into thinking that cheap imported products come with the same credentials, when often they do not.
Cost of living pressures are rising for everyone, but consider that Australia remains one of only eight countries in the world to spend less than 10 per cent of household income on food each year. While most consumers say they’ll buy Australian-made products they vote with their wallets and don’t follow through. It is incumbent upon supermarkets to make sure consumers know what they are purchasing when reaching for non-Australian grown and made products.