Victorian dairy farmers are demanding major retailers show proof they support local product following explosive reports supermarkets are now selling imported cheese as a new price war looms.
The United Dairyfarmers of Victoria has accused the retailers of hypocrisy for selling imported New Zealand cheese at $6 per kilogram, while continuing to voice public support for Australian farmers.
“Retailers love talking up their support for Aussie farmers, but selling cheap, imported cheese instead of giving dairy farmers a fair deal for their products shows that they don’t actually take their support very seriously,” UDV President Adam Jenkins said.
“Despite their public statements, their actions paint a very different picture.”
Coles states on its website that it “proudly supports local farmers, producers, and manufacturers.”
Woolworths, in marketing its Farmers Own brand, proclaims “our goal is to pay our farmers a good price for their milk that allows them to continue to produce quality milk”.
IGA’s own brand Community Co markets itself as “an Aussie brand you can feel good about” that goes “to great lengths to support hard working Aussie Farmers”.
While Aldi brags on its website that the majority of its brands are sourced from Australian suppliers unless the product, quality, efficiency, or innovation cannot be found in Australia.
“Australians support Australians and consumers – when they pick up cheese or other products in their local supermarket – like to know they are supporting Australian farmers,” Mr Jenkins said.
“Selling heavily discounted New Zealand cheese is adversely impacting the viability of our dairy farmers.”
Mr Jenkins said the whole dairy supply chain suffered as a result of supermarket price wars, but the squeeze was always felt hardest at the farm gate.
“When retailers compete to sell the cheapest products, the supply chain pushes the price cuts right back to the farmer who then misses out on receiving a fair price,” he said.
“It’s time for retailers to stop just talking the talk; they need to start walking the walk. They profit from the farmers’ hard work, so they need to give us a fair go.”