Jamie Oliver

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#1 Sun 06 Oct 13 9:17am

Sarnia

Member
Member since Sat 05 Oct 13

Please listen re Woolworths Australia!

Just how much research did Jamie do in regard to Woolworths before he signed up with them? They and another supermarket (Coles) are notorious for their stamping out of small business competition. Woolworths saturates areas with supermarkets, even when suburbs/small towns object to them.  Jamie, are you aware of the 'milk wars' between the big two supermarkets that have sent many dairy farmers to the wall? They sell home brand milk for $1 a litre. The farmers get 18c (that's not a typo) on milk that costs them 16c to produce! I live in an area that depends on dairy farming. The farm across the road has been sold, because the farmer couldn't keep going without letting his animal welfare standards suffer. Almost 500 of his prime dairy cattle were shipped overseas last month. Did you ask Woolworths how their practice of importing cheap canned fruit to sell under their Select and Homebrand has caused thousands of fruit trees to be bulldozed because local growers have not had contracts renewed due to these cheap imports? People's lives are being destroyed by them! Or how because of lousy publicity Woolworths have made a big deal of a (peanuts) contract to SPC Armdona as people were starting to agitate and rally on Facebook? Or how there is less and less choice in the supermarkets because of the pressure Woolworths puts on  companies to produce for their own brand? I thought Jamie championed small, artisan producers, small farmers and local businesses. Woolworths have recently opened yet another supermarket in the rural area I live in. So far, four local businesses have closed as they can't compete. Another supermarket is due to be built in a small seaside town nearby. The locals objected, the council refused planning permission. So Woolworths went to the State government and got it overturned. So Jamie, do you really want to be associated with a ruthless, money-grabbing, amoral company that puts profit before communities?? Even some of our independent politicians are so alarmed by what is happening they are trying to introduce legislation to ensure it doesn't get any worse... Please, please, look at what this company has done before you go any further.

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#2 Sun 06 Oct 13 11:02pm

frizz1974

Forum super champ
Occupation Mother of 2 working more than full time
From Wallerawang, Oz
Member since Wed 29 Jun 05

Re: Please listen re Woolworths Australia!

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Woolworths are likel in league with Sainsbury in the UK so he may know nothing of them... He has copped a lot of flack over the years he has been involved with Sainsbury & while I'm not a fan of the big boys it makes sense for his brand to be linked to them as its where most people shop. And if you want to effect change on these huge multinationals you have to be in with them to do it.

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#3 Sun 06 Oct 13 11:12pm

The White Rabbit

Forum super champ
From Sydney, Australia
Member since Tue 22 Jun 04

Re: Please listen re Woolworths Australia!

How else will he sell his products easily to a large number of people if not through one of the larger supermarket chains?
Do we know that it's his company selling these or is it an importer who has bought from them?

Woolworths, and most large businesses who have share holders and need to increase profit each year, function like this and have been for years. The only thing that can change that is changes to business law which is something that very likely needs to be conducted through your local member of federal government.

There is a fair bit of regulation around proper labelling of origins of food so you just have to hope people care enough to read the label.

Given there is likely to be a worldwide shortage of food in the next 50 years I think we'll be able to recover our agriculture.

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#4 Mon 07 Oct 13 12:49am

Sarnia

Member
Member since Sat 05 Oct 13

Re: Please listen re Woolworths Australia!

Unfortunately, Australian food labelling laws are ambiguous at best, and consumers can get caught out by labelling which appears to show that the product is made in Australia, when in fact, it is just packaged here. Both Coles and Woolworths have been caught out on numerous occasions labelling fresh fruit, veg and meat as local when it was imported.

I'm perfectly well aware of Woolworth's drive to increase profit and market share, what I'm pointing out is the distinct lack of competition in Australia - in the UK there are many more supermarkets chains and independents, as well as a strong movement concerning local producers and food miles.

And the comment in regard to our agriculture being able to recover shows a lack of understanding of what is really happening in rural areas. Unless we support our local producers and farmers NOW, we won't be supplying the world, we'll be struggling to maintain our own food security.

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#5 Mon 07 Oct 13 1:02am

The White Rabbit

Forum super champ
From Sydney, Australia
Member since Tue 22 Jun 04

Re: Please listen re Woolworths Australia!

They have been fined for those mislabelings. They tend to be held to higher standards than smaller shops. I don't find it difficult to read packets or signs

It is different here than the UK. We don't have as high a population so it's very easy to only have a few players in the market. When people work the hours they do it's often easier to shop in a large supermarket than in small shops that close by 6pm.

It is cheaper to import some foods because labour is much cheaper in other countries. People also demand fruit and vegetables all year rather than seasonally. That has got better and imo due to people like Jamie. Until there is better government support to agriculture farmers are likely to struggle. You can dismiss me as having no understanding if you like but getting food to large numbers of people even in Australia cannot be all local markets etc. The major players will always be there. They will respond to consumer demands or government regulation. Whether Jamie's brand of products is on the shelves or not won't change things.

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#6 Mon 07 Oct 13 10:28am

Sarnia

Member
Member since Sat 05 Oct 13

Re: Please listen re Woolworths Australia!

Fined when they've been caught out... No, Jamie's products won't change things. But a celebrity chef known for championing small producers and local businesses should, perhaps, be aware of the policies of a company like Woolworths. Policies that include saturating areas with their supermarkets (even if they lose money) to keep out competitors, the milk wars with Coles, and their cynical treatment of Australian producers to increase profit margins.

And I'm not dismissing you for having no understanding, I'm interested in your views. But as I live in an area where farmers are going to the wall, suicide is seen as a solution and where family farms and prize dairy herds are getting sold to the Chinese, please understand that in Sydney you are remote from the sharp end of farming. I have friends that cannot survive on what they make from their dairy farm (2c a litre profit on their milk - that homebrand milk has a price - paid by farmers) and have to get second jobs to pay the interest bill on their farm machinery loan. All I am trying to do is raise awareness of the plight of the people who put food on our tables.

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#7 Mon 07 Oct 13 11:46am

The White Rabbit

Forum super champ
From Sydney, Australia
Member since Tue 22 Jun 04

Re: Please listen re Woolworths Australia!

I think one of the recent fines was due to a failure by store staff to take down the Australian grown signage. I don't see it as a systemic failure and they are under more scrutiny than small independent shops. I wonder if my local fish shop signs are all that accurate at times but no one is going to bother checking them.

I grew up in a rural area. It is extreme but until there is government assistance it's unlikely to get better. By that I mean subsidies or further regulation of the consumer grocery industry. I also know people who sell products to the big two and the supermarkets are difficult to deal with even for the multinational food product suppliers. I think the issues are far more complex and long term than can be solved by Jamie or by local shops. You can get bad local shops too. I have to drive a couple of suburbs for a decent butcher and there are no decent bakeries that I've found. The local ones are well patronised so they aren't being frozen out but they're still a bit rubbish. So in much the same way as people go to McDonald's, bunnings, etc, the big supermarkets are about consistency, range and convenience. I think to an extent a large business is the natural progression for achieving those things. I don't think they'll suddenly go away or drastically change their business models without large consumer demand, loss of market share or government regulation.

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#8 Mon 07 Oct 13 1:31pm

Maree

Forum super champ
From Newcastle, Australia
Member since Sat 10 Mar 07

Re: Please listen re Woolworths Australia!

Hoping the photo thingy is working ...

This was front page of today's paper ... WW is blamed (Coles to a lesser degree). Decline of strip shopping due to changed shopping habits due to changed way of life etc as said previously. Sad, though. Very sad.

I buy "supermarket things" at supermarkets. I buy fruit 'n'veg, eggs and bread from the farmers' markets; meat from independent butchers and seafood similarly.

If planned, it's not that much of a hassle. Having said that, a farmers' market is around the corner from where I live Wed-Sat and the big market is Sunday ... a nice outing. I'm self-employed so I have the "luxury" of working/ organising my time to suit myself (it has its drawbacks also). I know that that is not possible for many.


"Cook with love and laughter ..."
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#9 Mon 07 Oct 13 1:38pm

Sarnia

Member
Member since Sat 05 Oct 13

Re: Please listen re Woolworths Australia!

This wasn't ever about Jamie changing the world, more about awareness of what goes on in the grocery business over here, and encouraging regional and artisan producers.

Fortunately our local community is very aware of what we could lose if we aren't vigilant over Woolworths and their less-than-subtle bid to own this shire. Still, apathy and bending over for the corporate giants is the rule as far as the politicians go...

I'll just go back to growing my own fruit and veg, swapping produce for coffee and cake at my local cafe, buying milk and cheese from our local dairy and baking my own bread...somehow I don't fancy eating bread that started out as frozen imported dough from Ireland. Fresh baked in store according to the marketers.(Yum.)

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#10 Mon 07 Oct 13 2:00pm

The White Rabbit

Forum super champ
From Sydney, Australia
Member since Tue 22 Jun 04

Re: Please listen re Woolworths Australia!

There are no markets around here. The occasional road side fruit van but those guys just onsell from the main Sydney markets. They are by no means growers. Our little shopping strip has probably been more damaged by not having great little shops. It still has the shops but I'd not be surprised if the went. In Sydney shopping centers are much easier because of the parking and the opening hours. And not everyone can afford, or indeed, wants artisan products. Like most people here I do seek out high quality suppliers but that's because food is my hobby. So in a sense you are preaching to the converted. But not everyone is as into food as we are.

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