Woolworths launches Farmers’ Own milk brand
Supermarket group Woolworths has launched its Farmers’ Own brand in some of its stores on the north coast of New South Wales, with the aim to range it across the entire State in the coming months.
The brand, which is sourced from dairy farmers in the Manning Valley, is available at Woolworths supermarkets in Taree, Tuncurry, Forster, Gloucester, Lakewood, Lake Cathie, Port Macquarie and Kempsey.
Woolworths said the new milk is permeate free and comes in three varieties: full cream and reduced-fat homogenised milk and full cream unhomogenised milk.
“Farmers’ Own is a great tasting, fresh milk with a richer, fuller flavour and we think our customers will love to drink it while supporting their local farmers,” said Ziggy Kwarcinski, General Manager of Fresh Food at Woolworths. “We are trialing a direct relationship with the Manning Valley Dairy Farmers to give farmers a better deal for their milk and customers a great new product range,” he said.
Woolworths said it recognised that “there are a variety of significant issues affecting Australia’s dairy industry” and that the Farmers’ Own brand trial “could be a model that will enhance long term sustainability of the dairy sector”.
“We’ve worked closely with the farmers to develop a product that not only tastes great but gives them end-to-end transparency from shed to shelf, a longer term contract and a closer relationship with their customers,” Mr Kwarchinski said.
“This trial will not be the silver bullet to fix all the problems, but we think it could herald a new way of delivering better returns to farmers and a more efficient supply chain,” Mr Kwarcinski said.
Manning Valley dairy farmers who are part of the trial said it was giving them a “much better deal” and that the longer term contracts would give farmers the confidence to invest in their businesses.
“There’s no doubt that consumers recognise that farmers deserve a fair price for what we produce,” said Tim Bale, Manning Valley dairy farmer. “We hope Woolies customers in the Manning Valley area support Farmers’ Own; it’s fresh, locally produced, and tastes great,” he said.
Woolworths said it has had direct relationships with meat and fresh produce farmers for more than 20 years and that currently most of these products were sourced directly from the producer. However, this will be the first time customers will be able to buy drinking milk that is sourced directly from farmers by the supermarket group.
Both Woolworths and its rival Coles have in recent times implemented strategies designed to demonstrate their commitment to supporting Australian farmers and food manufacturers. Australian Food News reported in September 2013 that Woolworths was considering ‘local’ branding.