Farmers furious at 'misleading' trend in Coles magazine

Australian meat producers are up in arms over a purposeful move from Coles that could see animal agriculture profits plunge in years to come.

Queensland cattle producer Adam Coffey raised concern this week on Twitter, questioning where the retail giant was sourcing facts suggesting animal farming was bad for the environment.

“Not only is eating less meat good for the environment – and your budget – but it can also have a positive impact on your health,” an excerpt from Coles’ January magazine read.

Similar advice to eat less meat is also promoted on the retailer’s website under the heading, “31 ways to eat well”.

Mr Coffey expressed he was less than impressed with the retailer’s stance.

“Hey Coles would you care to reference your statement regarding meat and the environment and/or let us know who is driving your vegan agenda,” he tweeted.

The outside of a Coles supermarket.
Farmers aren't happy with the way Coles is promoting plant-based food. Source: Getty Images

The cattle farmer also expressed how upset he was that the Coles magazine was “full of plant-based, dairy-free, meat-free, vegan recipes when the bulk of the population enjoy a balanced, unrestricted diet”.

“I would've thought that's a strange path to go down for a produce retailer,” he said.

Coles has encouraged customers to limit their intake of saturated fats and consider switching animal products for “flat mushrooms, sweet potato, butternut pumpkin, or canned beans or lentils in your cooking”.

Coles accused of promoting ‘misleading’ information

AgForce Queensland chief executive Michael Guerin was also peeved about the move away from animal produce, telling The Weekly Times he was seeking to discuss the matter with Coles.

“We plan on writing to Coles to seek an audience with them and find a way forward and will also be giving the issue some visibility and balance externally over the next few weeks,” he told the publication.

An image of the latest Coles magazine.
Day 11 of a meal guide encourages customers to go "meat-free" more than once a week. Source: Coles

He expressed he thought it was “tragic” that Coles was promoting “misleading” information, and wanted to take part in a conversation to share his “side of the story”.

Coles has since responded to complaints from the key agriculture identities, arguing there were in fact 50 per cent more meat recipes in its latest magazine.

“Coles cares about how our food is produced and sourced and we are committed to working towards a sustainable future that supports local farmers and food producers,” a spokesperson said.

“We are committed to sustainable beef production and participate in the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework, an initiative of the Red Meat Advisory Council managed by Meat and Livestock Australia.

“We consider the framework the most appropriate way to address climate and environmental issues facing the beef industry (such as emissions reduction and deforestation) from a national and industry-wide perspective.”

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