THEY might be “Australia’s Fresh Food People” but Woolworths’ new ad campaign is already getting on the nose for Griffith’s growers.
The supermarket giant launched the new promotion on Sunday which claims it supports local farmers by buying Australian produce and meat.
Woolworths managing director Tjeerd Jegen said the campaign marked a “new promise” to the company’s customers they would get Australian-grown when they shopped at Woolies.
“Ultimately we want shoppers to know that when they buy their fresh food with us they can feel proud that they are supporting a great Australian company as well as great Australian farmers,” he said.
But Griffith growers have warned consumers not to be taken in by the spin and the “big two” weren’t doing farmers any favours.
“They might be buying Australian-grown but it’s at their price,” local farmer John Ward said.
“They are not supporting farmers, they are pushing prices down to the point of breaking.
“Growers have given them lectures on the price of production and what they need to get to survive and the Woolworths buyer looks blankly at them before asking how low they can get the price.”
The campaign marks the latest fresh food battle between the big two supermarkets, which started in January this year when they slashed selected fruit and vegetable prices by 50 per cent.
The January promotion was also touted to be “helping growers” but Ross Grillo, owner of Hanwood fruit and vegetable merchant company Rinaland, said farmers were still struggling to get above production cost for some of their produce.
“Not much has changed since that campaign,” Mr Grillo said.
“We’re still getting the same prices as before – citrus growers are getting nothing this year, they’re still getting under production cost.”
Mr Ward said growers were virtually powerless to secure a fair price for their produce and it was up to the consumer to make the big two really support Australian farmers.
“Until the consumer works out what they’re doing to farmers it won’t change,” he said.
“Coles and Woolworths are really pushing Australian-grown now because there’s been a huge backlash over imports from the public, the same thing needs to happen here.”