Aldi and Coles under attack over $1 milk stand
Major retailers Aldi and Coles are under fire from Federal Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud, who has called for customer boycotts after their refusal to match Woolworths' ground-breaking move away from $1 milk.
Woolworths yesterday announced it was increasing the price of its two and three-litre milk by 10c a litre and would pass on the full increase to dairy farmers.
Farmers have blamed $1 milk for driving many of them out of business and have welcomed Woolworths' move to end eight years of cut-price milk.
Mr Littleproud said shoppers wanting a sustainable dairy industry should switch their business away from Coles and Aldi after both stuck with $1 milk, despite dairy farmers around the nation begging them to abandon it.
Having launched the idea of an extra 10c in August when he campaigned for supermarkets to make the change, Mr Littleproud said it should not have taken public brow-beating from a politician to force supermarkets to do the right thing.
He said Coles needed to be called out on "publicity stunts and rubbish claims" it had made in the past 24 hours, and criticised Aldi for going into hiding.
Coles put out a statement yesterday which said it was looking for a long-term solution that would not disadvantage its customers but at the same time supported dairy farmers.
"Coles also knows that many customers in Australia face cost-of-living pressures and doesn't want them to be disadvantaged through price increases," the statement said.
But Mr Littleproud said it was time for Coles to "put up or shut up".
"Act like a decent corporate citizen instead of just pretending to," he said.
He said publicity stunts like asking shoppers to donate at the counter to help struggling farmers were just a smokescreen to hide the fact they pay "bugger all" for milk.
"The farmers wouldn't need donations from the public if Coles and Aldi paid fair prices. Publicity stunts won't change that," he said.
Criticising Aldi's stance, Mr Littleproud said: "The big German needs to come out from hiding under the stairs and face the Australian public."
Aldi said yesterday it did not support retailer-led initiatives seeking to bypass the normal supply chain and channel money directly from retailers to primary producers.
"Aldi can best support the long-term sustainability of the dairy industry by accepting price increases from milk processors that reflect difficult market conditions thereby facilitating its milk processors to pay sustainable prices to dairy farmers," Aldi said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Queensland Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner also welcomed Woolworths' commitment to end $1 milk supply.
"The $1 milk wars as well as the on-going drought has impacted Queensland's dairy farmers, so it is pleasing that Woolworths has listened to consumer concerns," Mr Furner said.
He echoed Mr Littleproud's call for customers to review their purchasing options.
"Consumers should consider the flow-on impacts their decisions have for Queensland jobs when they make their purchases at the supermarket - as buying Queensland produce supports Queensland jobs," he said.