Aussie shoppers angry over branded milk shortages in major supermarkets

Shoppers accuse supermarkets of sabotaging a campaign to support dairy farmers.

Aussie shoppers angry over branded milk shortages in major supermarkets

Coles and Woolworths supermarkets are facing the ire of shoppers who have been unable to buy branded milk in order to support Australian dairy farmers.

In the latest protest against the two supermarket giants, shoppers have taken to social media – in particular, the Facebook pages of Coles and Woolworths – to post images of fridges emptied of branded milk and fully stocked with Coles and Woolworths store-branded milk.

Recently, Australian dairy farmers launched a public campaign in which they asked consumers to buy more expensive branded milk instead of Coles and Woolworths brand milk, after it was revealed that the supermarket chains’ $1-per-litre milk war was hurting the Australian dairy industry.

The shortage of branded milk has led to shoppers wanting to support farmers, accusing Coles and Woolworths of sabotaging the campaign by withholding supplies of branded milk in favour of their own store brands. Customers are furious that they have been unable to buy milk that supports Australian farmers.

But Coles and Woolworths have both denied that the shortage of branded milk is deliberate, saying that the empty shelves were due to an unexpected increase in sales.

“Over the weekend, many of our stores sold out of branded milk due to increased demand,” said a Coles spokesperson. “Stores were not advised to withhold selling branded milk in order to sell Coles brand milk first. Many stores have, in fact, increased their orders of branded milk to meet this increased demand.”

“We want to help dairy farmers and so we’re launching a new milk brand that will deliver an extra 20 cents per litre to a fund that will help support dairy farmers in Victoria, NSW and Tasmania,” said the spokesperson. “We already have similar products to support farmers in SA and WA, and we’ve kicked off this new initiative with a commitment of $1 million.”

The lack of branded milk in supermarket fridges proves that Aussie shoppers are keen to support Australian dairy farmers.

This shortage comes hot on the heels of an admission by Coles that its store brand milk was, in fact, made from “reconstituted milk powder”. Coles has since corrected the bungled admission, saying its PR agent had left out the word “not” from the Facebook post in question.

Coles was quick to take down the incorrect post, saying, “Our Coles brand fresh milk is exactly that – fresh. It’s not made from reconstituted milk powder and it’s 100 per cent permeate-free.”

The milk wars began after major milk buyers slashed the purchasing price of milk solids from $5.60 per kilo to between $4.75 and $5 per kilo because of a global dairy industry downturn.

As a result, some dairy farmers will actually operate at a loss for the foreseeable future – hence the request for Aussies to buy more expensive milk in order to boost incomes for dairy farmers.

Would you buy more expensive milk in order to help our struggling dairy farmers? Do you think that Coles’ new milk brand, which will see 20c per litre go into a fund to help our dairy farmers, is enough to undo the damage done?

Read more at www.news.com.au

RELATED ARTICLES





    COMMENTS

    To make a comment, please register or login
    Ted Wards
    25th May 2016
    10:01am
    Whilst I support the push for dairy farmers and Australian Industry, this is in fact only the latest industry to be decimated by cheap imports and so on. We are in a competitive market and this is the result of that market. Have people forgotten about the Australian industry we did have and let go such as the citrus industry in the river land, the beef industry, other primary industries. We should of been supporting and only buying only Australian all along. The difference here is lack of choice
    Blossom
    27th May 2016
    9:27pm
    The citrus industry was partly destroyed by water rerstrictions. Fruit was dry because they had practically no water. It is used up by cotton growers before it gets to the Murray down to the Riverland area.
    They also have problems getting fruit pickers - have for a few years.
    Misty
    25th May 2016
    10:19am
    See my comment below.
    Misty
    25th May 2016
    10:26am
    I thought the Supermarket milk from Woollies and Coles was produced here not imported so if people stop buying these 2 brands won't these farmers also suffer if the supermarkets no longer buy as much from them if consumers turn back to the more expensive brands?, seems like a no win situation all round to me.
    Misty
    25th May 2016
    10:22am
    I just checked my Woollie's milk and it says Product of Australia so are the Supermarkets subsidising these milk producers?.
    johninmelb
    25th May 2016
    12:52pm
    Both Woolworths and Coles Milk is processed by the main suppliers, ie Murray Goulburn, Parmalat, Fonterra etc.

    Coles and Woolworths sell their milk at discount prices as a LOSS LEADER, ie, they pay more for it wholesale than they sell it retail.

    It is subsidised by higher prices on other products.
    Kactus
    25th May 2016
    10:49am
    Woolworth's milk has an additional seal under the cap which you have to remove before you can access the contents.
    Other brands do not.
    Woolworth's milk doesn't last as long before going off.
    I think it's pretty obvious that whatever is in it is of inferior quality to other brands.
    johninmelb
    25th May 2016
    12:56pm
    Both Coles and Woolworths have the additional seal. It is just an additional security measure which I prefer. Tired of seeing bogans in the supermarkets opening bottles and jars and putting them back on the shelf.

    Absolute rubbish about Woolworths milk going off. I have never had a bottle of milk go off, from them, or from Coles or Aldi.

    Of course I keep my milk sealed and in a fridge kept at the right temperature. You obviously need a new fridge.
    Kactus
    25th May 2016
    2:03pm
    Thanks for the reply Mr. Cole Woolworth.
    Your milk definitely does not last as long as other non-generic brands and it has nothing to do with the performance of my fridge.
    Blossom
    27th May 2016
    9:24pm
    Check the use by dates. Coles UHT milk has a shorter time for safe use after opening than the more expensive ones fo.

    25th May 2016
    10:52am
    If you are naive enough to choose to shop at Coles and/or Woolworths you deserve to be duped by this duopoly by their prices and phoney promos.
    Queensland Diva
    25th May 2016
    11:26am
    It must be hard to breathe up there in the rarefied air of self-righteousness Fast Eddie. I take my hat off to you. (Sarcasm meant)
    Anonymous
    25th May 2016
    11:36am
    It is not self-righteousness, it is plain common sense of which you appear to be totally devoid. Do keep your hat on, it will help you to keep together.
    Kiri
    25th May 2016
    11:03am
    I continued to buy branded milk after the '$1 a litre' marketing war began, but the last couple of times I've gone to buy my usual brand it's all been snapped up. And yes, there are large quantities of supermarket branded milk still in the fridge. Now I'm wondering whether my fellow consumers are voting to support dairyfarmers and buying the branded milk, or is the supermarket putting less of it on the shelf ...
    Misty
    25th May 2016
    11:30am
    Well Kiri can you please tell me where the Woollies and Coles milk comes from?, dairy cows presumably owned by dairy farmers so won't these farmers also suffer if people stop buying their milk?.
    MITZY
    26th May 2016
    5:20pm
    I doubt the shoppers will stop buying the cheaper milk, especially those families with lots of children. There has often been stories on t.v./radio since the $1 a litre started. The $1 a litre milk and the downturn in payments to dairy farmers from the industry are two separate matters which is visible in the fact that Coles and/or Woolies will now sell the same milk for $2 more under the slogan the extra charge will go to the farmers.
    The less we have of "loss leaders" the better off we will be overall with our purchases. This year due to the continual pounding of advertising DOWN DOWN DOWN which started moons ago, my fruit and vegetables, meat/chicken/fish and dairy purchases as well as the "minority" of other items I purchase from supermarkets have increased by roughly $70-$80 per month. I keep track of what I spend and for just myself alone estimated $100 per week overall purchasing from Coles/Woolies/Aldi combined. So far in the four months expired and the current month I have been over the budgeted $100 per week. I don't buy any rubbish foods/snacks etc. only good quality items.
    Chris_58
    25th May 2016
    11:06am
    I did my shopping at Woolies this morning and their dairy fridge is full of all brands of milk - not just their own..........Morayfield, Qld
    MO6B
    25th May 2016
    11:06am
    I have never bought the Coles/Woolies/Aldi cheap milk. I never will. It is a marketing ploy to get us into their store to buy other overpriced profit driven products.
    I would like to challenge the executives of the above companies to show me how easy it is to milk a cow!
    When they have I will give them some credibility.
    In the meantime if you are on the NSW South Coast and you don't buy Tilba Milk you don't know what you are missing out on. It is just like the milk we got as kids. Jersey milk,produced locally by a local co operative who live locally a, shop locally and you can meet on the street everyday.
    Time to ditch these big corporations and look after our local communities for a change.
    Misty
    25th May 2016
    12:37pm
    Rubbish Fast Eddie, you obviously haven't been shopping for as long as I have 65 years now since I was 15, people shop all around, they get the brochures from the stores and plan their shopping accordingly except for emergency times. Anyway in my country town we only have Coles Woollies and Aldis so we have to buy from the if we want to survive so don't make sweeping statements like that one above that doesn't take into account peoples circumstances and habitat.
    Anonymous
    25th May 2016
    5:59pm
    Misty, if that is where you CHOOSE to shop, you have learned VERY little in your 80 years. A shame, as you could have saved yourself some money or obtained better value for it.
    Misty
    25th May 2016
    6:52pm
    Fast Eddie what are you going on about?, you know nothing of my shopping choices for my adult life, I have lived in this country town for the last 54 years and in the early days we had many small corner stores and greengrocers here, also deli's to choose from as well as independent supermarkets, it is only in the last 10 years or so that they have gradually disappeared to be replaced by the 3 supermarkets I named above so unfortunately that is the only choice we have if we want to shop locally and not order on line which is not only expensive but some goods, ie frozen goods and fresh meats are unable to be ordered this way.
    nicestman77
    25th May 2016
    11:08am
    Theres only one brand style of milk to buy in your supermarkets, and that A2 milk, it's non halal, most of all the others are, thats why lots don't buy the other brands, and only buy the cheap brand which they tell me is only powder anyway(Coles), anyone who seeks out & uses the halal certification is at their own peril, the costs have to be passed on to us or the farmers, and we have not determined where the halal fees go yet.
    The cheaper milk may be halal cert, but by the time the milk companies pay the fee there is no profit left for the farmers, we need to go back to buying from our local farmers that supply a MILKMAN, and cut back on transport mileage fees which will aid the farmers locally.
    Kiri
    25th May 2016
    11:32am
    I believe that Farmers Own is also non-halal.
    Fiona
    25th May 2016
    12:16pm
    Agree that A2 is the best. It's the only one that agrees with us stomach wise. I was wondering if there's a levy will that go onto the more expensive brands as well?
    Pass the Ductape
    26th May 2016
    4:56am
    Oh thank heavens someone has mentioned the insidious halal certification racket which plagues the most common and well known brands of our food stuff.
    Hairy
    25th May 2016
    11:08am
    I buy long life milk now because the cheap brands go off in a few days.also if it's halal I don't buy it.im sick of all the lies cheating and rip offs from the big stores.and the goverment who support these monopolys.they play and we pay
    Hairy
    25th May 2016
    11:08am
    I buy long life milk now because the cheap brands go off in a few days.also if it's halal I don't buy it.im sick of all the lies cheating and rip offs from the big stores.and the goverment who support these monopolys.they play and we pay
    missmarple
    25th May 2016
    3:55pm
    I too only buy long life milk, and I DEFINATELY WON'T BUY ANYTHING THAT HAS A HALAL LOGO ON IT I WOULD RATHER GO WITHOUT
    Pass the Ductape
    26th May 2016
    5:12am
    Long life milk (Devondale) at Aldi is halal certified. Dodging halal certified goods can be a little inconvenient when shopping and means you might have to shop at an additional store to get all the things you need, halal certified free - but by golly - it's good to note that more and more people are no longer in denial and finally waking up to reality - despite all the rhetoric nonsense about how great halal certification is for this country!
    nicestman77
    25th May 2016
    11:14am
    Please for the sake of Australian future generations only buy from items on this site.
    www.nonhalal.com.au

    Politics in Australia is broken, at the next elections send them a clear message that we the rate payers are not happy with their performance as it stands now, lets get away from electing bankers, and unions officials, from running Australia, we need new young politicians in the big house on the hill, not people who have their own agendas, we need politicians who care about the future of Australia, vote well away from the major parties, and local governments.
    loraines
    25th May 2016
    11:23am
    We should have...
    Getting Older...
    25th May 2016
    11:28am
    Does ALDI A2 milk qualify as a direct from the farmer product? Or is it a cheap import?
    Misty
    25th May 2016
    11:36am
    Don't know look on the label. Woollie is a product of Australia, apparently due to a reprt I just heard on the news a lot of the big Dairy companies are in trouble because they over estimated the demand from China for Australian Dairy Products so maybe they need to have a good hard look at their own choices before crying poor, it is the small farmers I feel for the family owned companies doing it tough.
    KSS
    25th May 2016
    12:50pm
    The majority of ALDI non-branded products are sourced in Australia. Their website states 93% of milk is Australian made and carries the kangaroo mark, like wise 100% of their meat, eggs and laundry detergents. (91% of fruit and veg).
    MICK
    25th May 2016
    11:34am
    "Let them eat cake".
    I hate the fact that two market dominators like Woolies and Coles can send the farming community into bankruptcy. In all fairness the world milk price is the main culprit but the duopoly is a major player in the pain felt in farming communities. The other is governments which seek to destroy another Aussie necessity for the sake of a few dollars saved.
    Anonymous
    25th May 2016
    11:39am
    Be careful, MICK, the Qld "diver" will have another "hat trick" with you.
    Anonymous
    25th May 2016
    3:17pm
    The prices to farmers is being manipulated in southern states by Murray Goulburn and Fontera. These are the companies that are reducing the prices to farmers and want to backdate the price. These companies state that they export most of the milk produced and a world price is dictating the price structure in Australia. As far as can be seen, neither Coles nor Woolworths buy milk directly from the producers.
    teuchter
    25th May 2016
    11:48am
    You only get what you pay for,i buy Bannisterdowns milk here in wa @ $2.15 a ltr cant beat it
    for quality and worth every cent and its none halal.Which means the money goes to the farmer
    and not to where I dont want it to go.
    Mike
    25th May 2016
    11:59am
    The question has been asked , and no one has answered it. Where does the cheap milk at Coles and woollies come from.? Please answer this
    iamnotold
    25th May 2016
    12:44pm
    It's owned and produced in Australia, it's the same as branded milk without the fancy package. A2 brand milk is New Zealand owned.
    Plenty of info out there for those capable of a bit of research.
    Poppa Bear
    25th May 2016
    12:00pm
    What about Queensland dairy farmers? They don't get a mention in any of the releases.
    biddi
    25th May 2016
    12:02pm
    So many other "milks" to drink and delicious. Dairy milk is meant for calves which are torn away from their mothers shortly after birth. What a brutal business.
    Lookfar
    25th May 2016
    12:16pm
    The other side of the story, that two middlemen corporates of Woolworths and Coles, Fronterra and Murrays, have cut the price 10% - Retrospectively, which will send many South Coast farmers, - almost half the entire Australian milk industry, to the wall, here is a petition from a young school girl from a farming family, it says much.
    Unfortunately Barnaby Joyce has merely waffled, but the whole story is unfolding, read below the 'sign Chloe's petition', but if you do sign it you will be able to see that whole activity.
    Young Chloe not gunna give up!

    Change.org

    Geoff – Last night on The Project, Waleed Aly mentioned the petitions on Change.org about dairy farmers being "milked dry".
    These farmers are in crisis. This young girl's petition says their lives are being destroyed and is calling for help for farmers, will you add your name?

    Barnaby Joyce: dairy farmers like my family are being destroyed - please step in urgently

    Chloe Scott
    Australia

    Sign Chloe's petition



    I am only 16 years old and have grown up on a dairy farm my entire life, but the massive cuts to milk prices - slashed by 10% and more - have had significant and horrible impact on finances and our lives.
    Not only have greedy corporates like Fonterra and Murray Goulburn cut the price they will pay us for milk - retrospectively cutting income means farmers will be left hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt!
    Putting profit before people and leaving thousands of families in the dirt. To ruin Australia's own home grown business is disgraceful. But this can be changed - Agricultural Minister Barnaby Joyce must step in to reverse these cuts and commit to a national review of the ridiculous pricing system leaving farmers in debt.
    It’s a tough life being a farmer, but we don't have to fight it alone - no one deserves to be stripped financially by the greed of others. There are many more families out there just like mine. So please - let's all unite and do something before it's too late.
    Please sign & share and let’s together tell Barnaby Joyce to review the milk pricing system - don’t let greedy corporates ruin Aussie dairy farmers!
    Misty
    25th May 2016
    12:28pm
    Apparently Fonterra and Murray Goulburn over estimated the call for Australian Dairy products from China, they have a lot to answer for in this price war.
    Ayin
    25th May 2016
    12:30pm
    I purchase extra creamy milk for which I pay $4 for two litres it is non halal and for my sins I receive a milk that comes straight from my childhood, you remember food that actually had taste and came seasonally, the very best came from private gardens and the milk was ladled into a billy and we actually put our money out overnight and it was still there for the milkman in the morning. Life has changed but not so much for the better I think?
    Misty
    25th May 2016
    12:44pm
    Ayin what brand is it and where do you buy it?.
    KSS
    25th May 2016
    12:54pm
    I don't buy home branded milk from either supermarket (or any for that matter) for two main reasons:
    First, if I bought a 2ltr bottle, most would be off before I could finish it; and second the skim versions are thinner and more watery than the branded milk i.e. I just don't like them.
    Ayin
    25th May 2016
    12:55pm
    Misty, I live in WA and the milk is from Browne's but I am sure that if you approached your local dairy co-op they would most likely have a similar product. We all need to be a little more pro-active and if it costs a little bit more to have what you enjoy so be it.
    jackie
    25th May 2016
    1:48pm
    A deregulated dairy industry is nothing but chaos bring back a regulated one. The entire industry has become cruel though over breeding cows. If this persists I will stop consuming dairy products. That cheap supermarket milk is Australian watered down milk. You may as well stick to drinking water and give it a miss.
    iamnotold
    25th May 2016
    3:46pm
    It is not "watered down milk", it is exactly the same as the branded milk.
    jamesmn
    25th May 2016
    2:07pm
    its not coles and woollies so much as the 2 money grabing companies murray Goulburn and the other one who are cutting the farmers prices down so as they can still make millions then you have got this minister jaala pulford who has that many portfolios she would not know what she is doing or what day of the week it is she is an absolute clown Daniel Andrews should remove her straight away she is not liked in her electorate and will not get in again she should be doing something about the 2 money grabbing companies that are rorting the farmers we should be able to buy milk direct from the farmers at least we would know they are getting the money.
    nena
    25th May 2016
    2:35pm
    Please, please give the cows a break!!! Instead of producing grasses, grains etc. for the lovely beings and then MILKING and or KILLING them for humans consumption just cultivate Soy instead. Soy milk and other soy products are best choice for every one concerned. And cheaper...and healthier...and good for the planet, and avoiding the killing of beings may contribute to a better humanity all round.
    Misty
    25th May 2016
    4:57pm
    The jury is out on Soy still, may cause cancer in some people.
    Anonymous
    25th May 2016
    5:52pm
    And others are allergic.
    water greg
    25th May 2016
    3:02pm
    How can I be sure if I buy the more expensive branded milk that the extra goes to farmers. Isn't it the big branded milk bottlers that reduced the farmers' price so they are getting more but paying less.
    greg
    bob
    25th May 2016
    3:52pm
    No one has asked -is it legal and moral for a company to say--OOPS we stuffed up now all that money we paid you for your goods for the last six months we want it back or we will not buy from you in the future-- To my mind there should be something illegal about that and it is these two companies that should be named and shamed.
    Kiri
    25th May 2016
    4:04pm
    I would have thought so too, Bob.
    Lookfar
    26th May 2016
    10:08am
    Buying something then paying a lower price is not acceptable behaviour anywhere, it also violates the Law of Torts, - A has an Obligation to B, to take care, the basis of Australian law, so there is legal redress I feel sure.

    The Neo Liberal arrogance of Murray and Fonterra to treat poorer folk than themselves like that suggests other Neo-Liberal attitudes would hold sway in the management of those companies, - such as not paying their fair share of Tax, it might be time to take a closer look at those two companies from a more critical position.
    Leo
    25th May 2016
    6:40pm
    Buy branded UHT milk if fresh milk isn't on the shelves
    CindyLou
    25th May 2016
    8:16pm
    I do buy more expensive milk - whats happening to the dairy farmers is dreadful.
    There needs to be real and immediate action to undo the harm done to these folk. I dread the thought of not having Australian milk on the table.
    Pass the Ductape
    26th May 2016
    4:46am
    As long as any branded milk is NOT halal certified I'm happy to pay a bit extra.
    jamesmn
    26th May 2016
    10:50am
    I can and have been buying my milk straight from a farmer I take a 25lt container and its gets filled up there are plenty of farmers doing this plus ALL OF THE MONEY goes to the farmer and its better quality.
    red 1
    26th May 2016
    12:02pm
    Milk is also flown in from New Zealand by the plane load daily.
    Gigi
    27th May 2016
    9:33am
    I shopped at Coles the other day & was forced to buy Coles branded milk which was very annoying!! Later, I received an email, Survey Shopper questionaire from Coles & I gave them a 'serve' AND Arnotts biscuits & branded Peanut Butter were two more casualties that I noticed was absent from shelves. I don't like these tactics, winners IGA & ALDI.
    OzzieKrow
    9th Sep 2016
    12:15pm
    Having worked as a dairy farmer many years ago I know some of the problems the major one being over supply world wide. The result is that the market fluctuates depending on supply and demand and competing with countries where the dairy industry is subsidised is impossible.
    In many ways dairy farmers are their own worst enemy: each time the price goes down they produce more milk to maintain their income so that increase the supply to an over supplied market. If they all reduced their herd size by ten percent or so within a short period of time the prices would have increased to more profitable levels again. BUT sadly some farmers would increase their herd size to benefit from the higher prices starting the cycle again.
    I wonder how many of the suppliers to Murray Goulburn realised what they were doing in allowing a share float!
    One final point. Can we be sure that buying “branded milk” will actually put more money into farmers pockets?
    OzzieKrow