Coles launches Australian roadshow to source new local produce

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 7th June 2012

To meet the demand from almost 70% of their customers for more home-grown produce, Coles has announced a series of local-sourcing roadshows.

Coles’ buyers will tour the country meeting local suppliers, food manufacturers and farmers in search of new and boutique products for customers. The first event will be held in South Australia in August.

Coles’ General Manager for Grocery Richard Pearson said, “There is a huge opportunity for Coles to meet the increasing demand for locally sourced products and that in turn creates a massive opportunity for local suppliers of all sizes right across Australia.”

The new ‘Meet the Buyer’ events aim to introduce Coles to “hidden local gems” from each Australian State.

Some smaller producers are expressing their personal concerns that Coles may not be willing to pay the usual “boutique” prices that smaller producers expect, or may insist on consignments of a larger volume at discounts that some small producers are ill-equipped to deliver.

Under Coles’ ‘Australia First’ sourcing policy, more than 90% of Coles brand grocery products must be Australian-made. Last month Coles announced that all of its Coles Brand frozen vegetables would be sourced from Simplot in Tasmania.

Similar announcements have also been made in dairy with Coles Brand cheese now 100% Australian made following new supply contracts with Bega Cheese.

The move towards locally grown produce is aimed at providing Coles with a point-of-difference in marketing against the Woolworths “fresh food” message. Coles is also seeking to draw more customers away from local farmers’ markets and independent supermarkets such as IGA.