A customer is angry over the origin of Australia Day merchandise sold at Australian supermarkets in the lead-up to January 26.
One man hit out at Woolworths and Coles for stocking Australia Day merchandise, which was made in China.
“Woolworths can you please explain publicly why you sell Australian Flags for Australia Day (along with all the other OZ Day paraphernalia??) and they are all stamped Made in China?? (sic)” one man wrote on the Woolworths Facebook page.
“Don’t you want to support local manufacturers? Woolworths, can you see the irony?”
The man shared a picture of the Australian flags selling for $4, which say “Made in China” on the back, above the barcode.
“Do you want to pay $4 or $40?” one person asked the man in the comments.
Woolworths replied to the post, thanking the man for his feedback and provided an explanation for the item not being made in Australia.
“Every year, we listen to what our customers tell us they need to celebrate Australia Day,” a Woolworths representative said on Facebook.
“They tell us they want a fun range of merchandise at a low price, as it is only used for one day. Therefore, we source these products where we can find the best range, quality and price.”
“Yep only used for 1 day,” the man replied to Woolworths.
“Waste waste waste.”
“We always seek to source products in Australia first,” a Woolworths spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia.
“In some cases, we work with overseas suppliers where it's not viable to source locally.
“The labelling on the packaging allows customers to make an informed choice before purchase.”
The same man also posted on Coles’ Facebook page, again expressing his disappointment with the supermarket for also selling merchandise which is made in China.
“Coles really disappointed that your Australia Day products such as Australian flag napkins, thongs, hats, glasses, stubbie holders are all made in China,” the post on the supermarket’s Facebook page said.
“It doesn't surprise me, just sad really that you can't support local industries.”
Once again the man showed pictures he had taken in-store, showing the label on the items clearly saying the products such as hats and cups were made in China.
In the comments on the Coles Facebook post, one social media user questioned whether the man who shared the photos did his part in supporting Australian businesses and manufacturers.
“I try my best to buy non-generic Australian made, local products,” the man replied, adding he believes supermarkets have the opportunity to “make simple decisions that can have very large positive environmental friendly decisions that can have a massive impact on Australian manufacturing and jobs”.
Another person pointed out in the comments, sometimes Australian-made items can be more expensive, and “All because Australians don't want to pay for it”.
“Nine times out of 10, they will go for imported rubbish to save a few dollars, then gripe how nothing is made in Aus,” the person said in response to the Facebook post.
A Coles spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia the supermarket’s range was “overwhelmingly Australian”.
“One hundred per cent of fresh meat and eggs, 96 per cent of fresh fruit and vegetables and more than 85 per cent of Coles Own Brand packaged food and drinks [are] sourced from Australian farmers and manufacturers,” the spokesperson said.
“Coles has a small range of non-food Australia Day merchandise designed by and purchased from a local Australian owned company, which sources from offshore due to the lack of local manufacturers for most of the products.”
Yahoo News Australia has also reached out to Woolworths for comment.
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