Woolworths boss responds to customers' 'Australian made' criticism

·2-min read

Woolworth’s CEO had revealed the supermarket is committed to ensuring Australian-made products are readily available to shoppers as the nation’s economy looks to bounce back from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The supermarket has faced sustained pressure in recent months to ensure Australian produce as well as products from Australian-owned businesses were dominating shelf space.

While the supermarket was praised last week for introducing a paper alternative to reusable plastic bags, there has since been criticism from shoppers about the bags being sourced from China.

Shoppers are looking to support Australian products amid the pandemic. Source: AAP
Shoppers are looking to support Australian products amid the pandemic. Source: AAP

In the wake of customer fury, a spokesperson confirmed to Yahoo News Australia that Woolworths is looking at alternative, local options moving forward.

And in his latest address to customers, CEO Brad Banducci revealed the supermarket giant is dedicated to ensuring Australia comes first.

“As we start to recover from COVID-19, we understand how important it is to support Australian businesses and in turn our communities,” he explained.

“We have heard your feedback on how to make identifying Australian products easier when you’re shopping – it's a challenge we’re up for and one we are working on.”

His comments come after a petition calling for an exclusively Australian aisle in store began to gather momentum last month, garnering more than 30,000 signatures.

And while a spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia the current in-store layout will be continued moving forward, Mr Banducci’s comments are likely to be welcomed by the proposal’s backers.

A move which could be adopted in store would be to introduce signage indicating which items are from Australian businesses, similar to ones adopted in some IGA stores.

Woolworths continues dairy industry levy

Mr Banducci also noted how the supermarket was extending its 10-cent dairy levy until mid-next year, continuing to support farmers through financial struggles caused by drought.

The levy is expected to give $30 million to producers on top of the $50 million it has raised since 2018.

Woolworths fresh food director Paul Harker said the levy provided much-needed relief to farmers.

"While conditions have improved and farm gate prices have gone up since we started the levy in 2018, we're extending payments to provide certainty while dairy farmers and processors find their feet under the new mandatory code," he said.

Woolworths will also establish a $5 million fund to provide grants to dairy farmers to help improve farm efficiency and profitability over the next three years.

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