Confusion over Coles, Woolworths milk mix-up: 'How does it happen?'

·4-min read

A baffled employee has shared his confusion over a delivery of Woolworths homebrand milk that recently arrived at his local Coles.

The confused employee posted a video on TikTok, where he explained that five crates of Woolworths homebrand full cream milk were delivered to the store instead of Coles’ own brand milk.

In the TikTok video, the Tasmanian staffer seems just as confused as onlookers, as he asks users: “How does this happen?”

The 26-second video shows crates of Coles’ own brand milk sitting side-by-side with Woolworths’ homebrand milk at Coles Bridgewater, a suburb in northern Hobart.

To the untrained eye, the milk bottles would appear identical with their blue lid, similar body and label.

Screenshots of Woolworths milk cartons alongside Coles milk at Coles supermarket. Source: TikTok
An employee was baffled when Woolworths milk cartons were delivered to Coles. Source: TikTok

However, on close inspection you can see that the Coles milk bottles include the signature red logo, an image of a dairy cow and splash of green grass.

Whereas the Woolworths’ blue-and-white label features an outline of Australia and the Woolies’ green logo in the top-right.

The shape of the bottles is also slightly different.

Customers speculate over how this happened

The puzzling video amassed more than 75,000 views, over 1,100 likes and hundreds of comments from shoppers posing their own theories before it was deleted.

“Comes from the same supplier. Someone put on the wrong pallet,” wrote one shopper.

“Same supplier to Coles, Woolies and Aldi,” wrote another shopper.

Woolworths and Coles home brand 3L milk cartons appear very similar to the untrained eye, but there are some subtle differences. Source: Supplied
Woolworths and Coles home brand 3L milk cartons appear very similar to the untrained eye, but there are some subtle differences. Source: Supplied

While several customers suggested that it was a mistake on the part of the delivery driver.

Supermarket staff flooded the comments, with many saying “it happens all the time” and alleging that in some cases the staff would just take it home.

One user even explained that they previously worked for a company that made frozen meals for the supermarket giants and the “only difference is the packaging.”

Coles and Woolworths comment on milk mix-up

A Coles spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia that they will be further investigating the milk carton mix-up with their supplier and Distribution Centre.

“All cartons are scanned at different points throughout our supply chain and we’ll be following this up with our supplier and Distribution Centre to find out how this product ended up at our store,” said the Coles spokesperson.

When Yahoo News asked Woolworths about the incident they did not issue a direct response as the matter occurred in a Coles store.

Rather, a spokesman said that the retailer "partners with dairy processors to source and bottle milk from farmers in each state".

"We work closely with processors to offer quality, 100 per cent fresh Australian milk to our customers across the country," the spokesperson said.

‘Australia’s greenest supermarket’: How Coles beat Woolworths

As the rivalry between Australia's two giant supermarkets continues, Coles has won one battle between them, by taking home the crown for most sustainable supermarket in Australia.

The World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA) ranked Coles the number one food retailer in Australia for sustainability, while rival Woolworths ranked 7th.

In the report, the WBA stated that Coles “ranked first among its retail peers in social inclusion, while landing among the top five in nutrition, and top 10 across the governance and strategy.”

Coles and Woolworths signs sit atop one another. Source: Getty Images
Coles has ranked as the most sustainable food retailer in Australia, and second in the world. Source: Getty Images

Coles was ranked second out of 62 peer food retailers around the world, and 12th out of the 350 benchmarked food and agriculture organisations internationally.

In the food and beverage manufacturers/processors category, Coles also ranked 10th in the world, compared to Woolworths which ranked 24th.

“Coles’ Together to Zero and Better Together ambitions, as outlined in our sustainability strategy, underpin the steps we are taking to drive generational sustainability,” said Coles chief sustainability, property and export officer Thinus Keevé.

“We recognise the role we have to play but know that we cannot do this alone, and that we need to work together with our many stakeholders to drive positive change.”

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