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Supermarket chain Coles has been forced to raise the prices of its home-brand milk as cost of living continues to rise – the latest blow in a series of price increases that has hit Australian consumers this year.
Coles announced rising costs in sourcing, transportation and packaging has forced them to increase prices of its Coles brand milk by up to 60 cents.
“Raising prices is never something we do lightly, however the increased supply chain costs we are seeing, including higher payments to dairy farmers and processors, have necessitated these increases," Coles Chief Commercial Officer Leah Weckert said in a statement.
“The feedback we’ve received from farmers and processors following the recent increases in farm-gate and wholesale prices has been very positive, and we hope customers will help us continue to support them by purchasing their great quality Australian milk.”
The changes will see the price of Coles brand 3 litre fresh white milk increase by 60 cents, the 2L by 50 cents, and the 1L by 25c, with the new prices listed below:
· Coles Brand Fresh White milk 1L was $1.35 now $1.60
· Coles Brand Fresh White milk 2L was $2.60 now $3.10
· Coles Brand Fresh White milk 3L was $3.90 now $4.50
· Coles Brand UHT White milk 1L was $1.35 now $1.60
Farmers stand to benefit from price rises
This is believed to be a welcome move for farmers, who stand to benefit from the increase as Coles in also now paying them more for their product.
In June, Coles signed a contract with 100 Australian dairy farmers that negotiated direct milk supply for the Coles brand. The agreement includes an increased pay to dairy farmers in recognition of rising supply and production costs, which Coles has been paying since July 1.
Michael Hampson, CEO of dairy co-operative Norco which supplies Coles Brand milk in Northern NSW and Southern Queensland, says the increased farm-gate price will make a huge difference to dairy farmers.
“Through our long-term partnership with Coles, we have been able to support our 300 farmer members with a record farm-gate milk price increase across the total 200 million litres that our members supply to our 100 per cent farmer owned co-operative,” Hampson said in the Coles media statement.
“This is especially important as farmers face pressures from rising costs of production, with many still recovering from the devastating impacts of recent unprecedented weather events,” he added.
Dairy farmer John Boyd said it’s a win-win for all.
"Coles support us and we support them, then by buying Coles Milk consumers can support the farmer to produce high quality milk they can enjoy,” dairy farmer John Boyd said in the Coles media release.
First time for the industry
Australian Dairy Farmers President Rick Gladigau says this is the first time prices have been actually dictated by farmers, unlike price hikes in previous years.
"I've been in the industry for 40 years and I'd never seen this. This time it's different," Gladigau told Yahoo News Australia.
He explained that dairy farmers have been under the hammer over transport and other costs, so the push for this increase is nothing short of good news for the industry, which had seen a 3.5 per cent drop in production due to pressures that range from cattle prices to the price of land and labour shortages.
"The milk pricing has well exceeded what we thought was going to happen," Gladigau said.
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