Coles moves to mend bridges with Australian farmers

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 15th August 2012

Coles has denied that it will require its farmer suppliers to install cameras on their properties. This follows Australian Food News reporting Coles’ Head of Policy and Quality for Supermarkets who recently suggested in a public statement that CCTV cameras might be required to monitor concerns about animal welfare for some products being bought by Coles supermarkets. The speaker also referred to Tesco’s requirements for such cameras in the UK.

However, in further moves this week Coles has also sought to strengthen its relationship with Australian farmers.

Coles sponsorship of farmer of the year awards

Coles has just announced in conjunction with The Weekly Times newspaper that Coles will co-sponsor the 2012 Australian Farmer of the year awards. This is despite the fact that The Weekly Times has been a trenchant critic of the Coles and Woolworths supermarket duopoly.

The Weekly Times was one of the most vocal critics of Coles on the issue of discounted house-branded milk and concerns of sustainability of dairy farmers caused by the heavy discounts. The readership of The Weekly Times, which is Victorian-based, includes a strong readership within dairy farming communities.

Coles details its farming linkage

The recent Woolworths marketing of Woolworth’s commitment to local produce includes media snapshots in advertisements. By contrast Coles has created a new marketing campaign that provides a 52-page website publication “Backing Australian farmers”. Coles are highlighting in transparent detail many facts and figures on their relationship with a list of Australian farmers and how these farmers “benefit from the sale of their produce in their stores.”

The publication includes a selection of farmers from all over the nation together with their testimonials towards the benefits of their business relationships with Coles.

Industry growers and producers are pictured with their produce and provide a casual style interview highlighting the benefits of partnering with Coles for both themselves and the consumers. For example Western Australian strawberry farmer of Berry Sweet, Anthony Yewers states “We’d always been dealing with agents and were told don’t deal with supermarkets ‘cause they’ll bend you over a barrel.” Yewers then says his professional relationship with Coles has lead to increased success and that “it’s not us against Coles, it’s all in together.”