Two eagle-eyed shoppers have been left confused over two packets of Woolworths-brand pecans purchased at the same time.
Although they appeared identical, there were a few puzzling differences.
Bianca Cottle purchased the pecans from Woolworths Homeshop, both 150 grams, but one bag was slightly smaller than the other.
The differences didn’t stop at the bag’s size, the smaller bag boasted the ‘Australian Made’ logo, which promised to be packed with Australian ingredients and had a used by date of December 2020.
The larger bag had imported ingredients and the used by date was February 2021.
“I just found it really bizarre, to get in the same shop the two different packets at the same time,” Bianca Cottle told Yahoo News Australia.
When she was looking at the product, she initially thought maybe Woolworths had reduced their packaging, but by comparing the used by dates she realised it was in fact the opposite.
“I find it really frustrating as a customer when I’m trying to reduce my plastic – and you hear announcements like making paper bags available – when they’re reducing their waste in one area, but constantly increasing it in other packaging areas.”
Ms Cottle is the founder of Bring Your Own Containers, an initiative encouraging people to reduce waste while shopping, and she shared the photos with Anita Horan, a plastic-free advocate with a sizeable following on social media.
The bags were both weighed after the pecans were removed and the larger bag weighed one gram more than the other.
Ms Horan spoke to Yahoo News Australia and said while this may have been a coincidence, she said the larger bag with the later used by date indicated to her Woolworths had made a change.
“It might not seem like much, but if they are doing this to multiple products, the cumulative extra plastic is enormous,” Ms Horan wrote on Facebook.
Ms Horan said if the packaging was new, it was unnecessary, and she echoed Ms Cottle’s concerns of the supermarket giant making strides to reduce plastic in some aspects while adding more plastic in other areas.
“Why are we adding extra plastic for no valid reason?” she questioned.
“We should be minimising plastic every single place we can, not just contributing to plastic pollution.”
When approached for comment, Woolworths said the different size in packaging was down to the supplier.
“The variance in product size is due to the different packaging specifications and guidelines each supplier follows, along with the dimensions of each pecan,” a Woolworths spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia.
Up to ‘every Australian consumer’
In recent weeks, Australian customers have expressed concerns of imported products, many saying they want to support Australian farmers and businesses.
In light of drought, bushfires and now the coronavirus pandemic, there is a growing push to keep jobs on Australian soil.
“We really should be supporting Australian food, both to protect our food supply but also to give money to Australian businesses,” Ms Horan told Yahoo News Australia.
A Woolworths spokesperson explained to Yahoo News Australia, the supermarket introduced American grown pecan options for customers last September, “to supplement our existing Australian supply”.
“Regrettably, locally produced pecans have decreased in availability because of the impact of drought and bushfires on growers,” they said.
Just last week, Woolworths customers were upset the supermarket had stopped stocking an Australian made peanut butter with 98 per cent Australian ingredients.
In a statement to Yahoo News Australia, regarding the Farmers Co peanut butter, the supermarket said the item was pulled from shelves due to a “sustained period of underperforming sales”.
Ms Horan said she understands some produce may not be available locally for supermarkets given the drought and bushfires, but argued that customers need to take some responsibility.
“It’s also up to every Australian consumer,” Ms Horan said.
“If we always buy the cheapest thing and the imported thing, well they [the supermarkets] are going to give that to us.”
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