Coles reveals why it's refusing to follow Woolworths in raising milk prices

Coles have refused to bow to public pressure, saying they won’t follow Woolworths’ lead and scrap their $1-a-litre-milk range.

As of today Woolworths will raise the price of its supermarket branded milk by 10c per litre, on the back of years of cries and pleas from the struggling dairy farming industry.

But in what came as a surprising move to many, their biggest competition did not follow suit, with Coles announcing their milk prices will remain the same.

In a statement to Yahoo7 News, the supermarket giant said they had been “exploring additional options in relation to how to best support Australia’s hard working farmers”, but stopped short of promising any price changes.

Coles says they have no plans to axe their cheap milk line. Source: Getty
Coles says they have no plans to axe their cheap milk line. Source: Getty

“Coles is committed to finding a better model that can be adopted by the industry to assist Australian farmers, and intends to liaise with relevant parties including government and the ACCC,” the statement read.

“Coles is seeking a long-term solution that does not disadvantage our customers and supports our dairy farmers.”

They said that as of Monday next week, they will start collecting customer donations from all registers and matching the donations dollar-for-dollar to support Australian farmers.

Coles are seeking a ‘long-term solution’ to the dairy crisis. Source: Getty
Coles are seeking a ‘long-term solution’ to the dairy crisis. Source: Getty

It’s a decision that is unlikely to be popular with Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud who said Aussie supermarkets need to put an end to this “$1 milk disaster”.

“Supermarkets can’t pretend selling milk cheap doesn’t hurt farmers and they’ve got to be called out on this rubbish,” he said.

Aldi have also remained tight-lipped on their plans despite mounting pressure for them to follow Woolworths’ lead.

‘This is a lesson for every other retailer in the country’

Woolworths will no longer sell $1-a-litre milk. Source: Getty
Woolworths will no longer sell $1-a-litre milk. Source: Getty

Eight years after introducing $1-a-litre-milk, Woolworths caved into a campaign that had lasted nearly as long, announcing its cheap milk line will be off the shelves as of today.

Woolworths-branded milk will now sell for $1.10 a litre, with the extra 10 cents to go to the 450 dairy farmers that supply the chain.

“The situation facing dairy farmers is critical,” NSW Farmers Dairy Committee chair Erika Chesworth said on Monday. “This is a lesson for every other retailer in the country.”

Dairy farmers rally outside Parliament House following a march in Melbourne in 2016. Source: AAP
Dairy farmers rally outside Parliament House following a march in Melbourne in 2016. Source: AAP

Last year Woolworths began offering a “Drought Relief Milk” range, at $1.10 a litre, with 10 cents to go to farmers but it also continued to sell its $1 range.

“We’ve heard the outlook will continue to be extremely tough for dairy farmers right across the country,” Woolworths Group chief executive Brad Banducci said on Monday.

“This is affecting milk production and farm viability … It’s clear something needs to change.”

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