Canadian dairy giant Saputo is continuing its global buying spree, stitching up a deal to buy the listed UK company Dairy Crest.
Despite Woolworths yesterday announcing it will axe $1-a-litre milk sales, giving dairy farmers a fairer payment, Coles and Aldi have yet to make the change.
Instead, Coles has begun a campaign encouraging customers to donate to farmers using tins placed in its supermarket aisles from February 25. Aldi has remained quiet on the issue.
The Australian Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud is encouraging shoppers who want a sustainable dairy industry to switch their business away from Coles and Aldi.
Littleproud says Coles needed to be called out for its donation campaign and claims it has made in the past 24 hours, whilst Aldi needed to be called out for going into hiding.
“Publicity stunts like asking shoppers to donate at the counter to help struggling farmers are just a smokescreen to hide the fact they pay bugger all for milk,” Littleproud said.
“The farmers wouldn’t need donations from the public if Coles and Aldi paid fair prices. Publicity stunts won’t change that.
“The big German needs to come out from hiding under the stairs and face the Australian public.”
Coles put out a statement yesterday which says: “Coles is committed to finding a better model that can be adopted by the industry to assist Australian farmers.”
“Coles has said this since August so it’s now time to put up or shut up,” Littleproud said.
“Act like a decent corporate citizen instead of just pretending to.”
Woolworths last week ceased selling milk at that price nationwide; 2L and 3L packs of Woolworths branded fresh milk now sell for A$2.20 and A$3.30 respectively.
Every cent of the increase will end up with Australian dairy farmers.
Australian Dairy Farmers chief executive David Inall described the move as a game-changer in the fight against discounted dairy that has long frustrated the industry.
“It is reassuring that Woolworths [will pass] the full A10 cents increase back to the farmers who supplied the milk in that product category.
“Removing A$1 milk is not just intended to restore farmers’ financial confidence, but it will also boost confidence in regional communities and small businesses that rely on the industry.
“Consumers can buy fresh milk from Woolworths knowing they are supporting the Australian farmers who supplied it.”