Woolworths reveals 'unfortunate' detail in new Discovery Garden

Woolworths shoppers wondering whether seedling kits in the Discovery Garden promotion will be Australian made have finally received answers.

Off the back of the campaign’s success in 2019, customers nationwide from Wednesday can begin collecting a variety of 24 seedling kits for every $30 they spend.

While the initial launch was predominantly well received, there was criticism over Woolworths importing a significant proportion of the materials that made up each kit.

The soil tablets contained ingredients from Sri Lanka and were produced in the Netherlands, while the kits were assembled in Poland using components from manufacturers across the world including Australia.

Discovery Garden promo photo from Woolworths.
Woolworths has revealed its new seedling kits aren't Australian made. Source: Woolworths

Woolworths claimed at the time there was no “manufacturing capability in Australia to produce the pot, the soil pellet, and the seed mat to the quantity needed for this community program”.

The reliance on overseas suppliers in the 2019 launch created hesitance from shoppers ahead of this promotion when it was teased by the supermarket last week.

Many customers expressed they would be patiently waiting to see if the kits were made in Australia before they decided to support them.

Woolworths has now revealed that, like the previous launch, much of the seedling kit materials in the new launch relied on overseas suppliers.

“We always look to source locally first. Unfortunately, there is no manufacturing capability in Australia to produce the pot, the soil pellet, the seed mat to the quantity needed for this community program,” a spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia.

“In order to meet demand and ensure all of our customers can participate in a community program promoting positive change for the local environment, it has been a global effort to bring the seedling kit collection to Australia.

“All components have met strict biosecurity regulations, have been cleared and imported in line with the requirements for the Australian Department of Agriculture, Environment and Water and are quality non-GMO seeds.”

Australian Made label.
Customers were hesitant to support the launch until they knew if the kits would be made from Australian material. Source: Australian Made

Shoppers have taken to social media in anticipation of the new launch, some expressing excitement while others hesitant to partake based on their previous experience.

“Oh great. These plants hate me, not one grew,” one wrote to Facebook.

Others said they would “pass”, with one saying the previous kits caused her family to break out in hives.

Family allergic to the seeds

“We were just allergic to what the pots were made out of... we all came out in hives. They were also made overseas out of foreign product,” Candace Wilson, from Spring Farm, NSW, said.

“It was from just touching the container that you were meant to plant them in. We used the seeds and they were great. But we had to wear gloves to take the seeds out of the little pots,” she told Yahoo News Australia.

Some complained the kits were flimsy which interfered with the seedlings flowering and caused them to mould.

“The pots need to be stronger and they seem to grow mould a lot. And also not all seeds grow, some don’t germinate,” Mary Wiese from Townsville, Queensland, told Yahoo News Australia.

Ms Wiese said she would “give the second lot a go if they are Australian made”.

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