Woolies commits to local
Woolworths this week announced its new ‘Local Food Sourcing Strategy’, which will bring more locally produced foods to the shelves of supermarkets across Australia.
Woolworths Managing Director of Australian Supermarkets and Petrol Tjeerd Jegen said the ‘Local Food Sourcing Strategy’ will see Woolworths introduce even more Aussie brands and products to customers.
“Our customers have told us they want Woolies to support their local communities and source more local foods,” he said.
This new strategy will enable us to do this more effectively and allow our stores to further tailor their individual ranges to their communities.”
Woolworths is in the process of appointing local sourcing managers for each state. Once appointed, these managers will be responsible for identifying local products, hosting ‘Local Sourcing Road Shows’ across their state to communicate the new opportunities for local suppliers, and developing individual ranging plans for local suppliers.
“We recognise that supplying 890 Woolies stores can be a daunting prospect for small and medium businesses, and may simply be beyond the reach of their production capacity,” Mr Jegen said.
“Woolworths’ local sourcing managers will work with these suppliers to design a plan that suits their business, whether that’s supplying three or 300 stores.”
Last Monday, Acting Premier of NSW Andrew Stoner unveiled the first locally sourced products that will arrive on Woolworths shelves in late January – a range of jams and conserves from nine local producers in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.
Coles meets animal welfare commitments
Coles has delivered on its customer commitment to improve animal welfare standards a year ahead of schedule by totally removing caged eggs and sow stall-produced pork from its Coles brand product range.
As a result of the Coles animal welfare initiatives, 350,000 hens no longer deliver eggs in cramped cages and 34,000 pigs are no longer confined in cramped stalls for large parts of their lives.
Coles Head of Responsible Sourcing and Quality Jackie Healing said the initiatives met a strong customer desire for better animal welfare.
“Animal welfare issues continue to be one of the major concerns customers raise with us – they want to know that animals have been properly treated,” she said.
Animal welfare groups have praised Coles’ moves to improve animal welfare. Heather Neil, CEO of RSPCA Australia, said the announcement is fantastic news for both animal welfare and consumer choice.
“The RSPCA congratulates Coles and its suppliers for making this important commitment,” Ms Neil said.
“It’s a huge step forward to improving the lives of hens and pigs, along with strengthening the humane food movement in Australia.”
Campaign Director at Animals Australia Lyn White also welcomed the news from Coles.
“It is terrific that Coles has acknowledged their ability to positively influence the lives of animals in Australia and is working productively with producers to provide positive outcomes,” she said.
‘Big banks must pass on interest rates savings’
The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) said the retail sector would be waiting for interest rates to come down.
ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said with reports of reduced lending costs of major banks, not only should the Reserve Bank lower interest rates when it meets in February, but the major banks should pass on additional rate cuts.
“Australia has comparatively high official interest rates compared to equivalent performing economies in Canada, New Zealand and Norway, which have cut interest rates to one per cent, 2.5 per cent and 1.5 per cent, respectively, and has resulted in the Australian dollar being driven to record consistent highs affecting the economy,” he said.
“Since the start of the GFC, Australia’s banks have not passed on full interest rate cuts because of internationally high borrowing costs. With clear evidence these costs are lowering consumer and business borrowing, interest rates must be lowered.”
Mr Zimmerman said recent store closures and profit downgrades among iconic retailers is a sign of the retail industry struggling and that this will lead to wider economic consequences, as well as impacting jobs and growth.
“Australia is facing significant economic headwinds and the need for serious economic reform from whoever wins this year’s federal election,” he said.
“In the meantime, the big banks and RBA need to play their role in supporting the economy.”
Global food wastage concerns
A UK study has found that as much as 50 per cent of all food produced around the world never reaches a human stomach.
The ‘Global Food Waste Not Want Not’report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers found the reasons for this wastage range from poor engineering and agricultural practices, inadequate transport and storage infrastructure through to supermarkets demanding cosmetically perfect foodstuffs and encouraging consumers to overbuy through ‘buy one get one free’ offers.
Dr Tim Fox, Head of Energy and Environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said the amount of food wasted and lost around the world is staggering.
“This is food that could be used to feed the world’s growing population, as well as those in hunger today,” he said.
“It is also an unnecessary waste of the land, water and energy resources that were used in the production, processing and distribution of this food.”
The report claims there is the potential to provide 60 to 100 per cent more food by eliminating losses and waste while at the same time freeing up land, energy and water resources.
Commenting on the report, AUSVEG spokesman Hugh Gurney said retailers often reject produce that fails to meet strict aesthetic criteria.
“Retailers commonly turn away fruit and vegetables due to minor blemishes, discolouration or size inadequacies,” he said.
“When produce is grown and then thrown away, fertilisers, water, land and energy are also expended in vain. The financial losses to growers are innumerable.”
McCain Foods to acquire Kitchens of Sara Lee
The frozen food giant signed an $82 million share purchase agreement to acquire the frozen bakery business from Hillshire Brands in late December.
The agreement encompasses Kitchens of Sara Lee (KOSL)'s manufacturing, marketing, distribution and exporting of frozen desserts, as well as licensing rights to the Sara Lee trademark in connection with the bakery business in Australia and other areas within the Pacific Rim. The transaction is subject to closing conditions and regulatory approvals.
Steve Yung, Managing Director of McCain Australia/New Zealand said: “Sara Lee will be a great addition to our family of frozen foods, offering our customers an expanded range of products across desserts, meals and snack occasions. Sara Lee is a recognised and trusted brand that is highly complementary to our business.”
KOSL is a leading Australian and New Zealand frozen food company that manufactures, sells and distributes a range of Sara Lee-branded products in the frozen desserts, super premium ice-cream, pastries, frozen savoury meals and frozen fruit categories. KOSL produces the majority of its products at a facility in Lisarow, NSW and employs approximately 500 people.
Rubbedin inducted into Hall of Excellence
Specialty cleaning product manufacturer Rubbedin received the Redland Chamber of Commerce Hall of Excellence Award, held in Redlands, Queensland.
More than 275 people saw Rubbedin inducted into the Hall of Excellence after winning the Best Business Award in Manufacturing, Trades, Services and Export for a third time at the recent 21st Commonwealth Bank 2012 Redland Business Awards.
Held at Sheldon Event Centre, the awards were the culmination of six months’ work by the Redland City Chamber of Commerce's awards committee.
Owners Ian and Marslie Smits and their team said they were thrilled to have been chosen as worthy winners by such a high-calibre panel of independent judges and against tough competition in this growing business category.
“This last year has been a challenging one and this award is a great way of being recognised for the hard work, commitment and dedication that has been put in by every one of us here at Rubbedin,” Marslie Smits said.
“We are committed to manufacturing and supplying what we believe to be the best sustainable cleaning products on the market and we will use the award to keep us at the top of our game: to continue to deliver innovative products. Hopefully, it will lead to more success.”
Rubbedin is an Australian owned and operated manufacturer in Capalaba, Brisbane and has been manufacturing and supplying some of Australia's top-selling cleaning products into leading supermarkets, DIY stores and commercial cleaning and hospitality industries nationally since 1979.
San Remo improves access to pasta recipes
San Remo has strengthened its commitment to promoting pasta culture with the launch of its new website.
The new website has a specific focus on Italian food culture and features easy-to-search recipes, including information about preparation time and difficulty levels. The recipes are developed for specific pasta shapes, but include suitable substitute shapes from the San Remo range if visitors do not have access to the particular shape at the time.
A feature of the site is a ‘My San Remo Recipe Book’ facility – an easy-to-use digital repository for favourite recipes. Chief Marketing Officer for San Remo Michael Neale, said this is indicative of an ongoing commitment from San Remo to make it the website of first choice for information about pasta within the Australasian region.
“A number of the recipes include video clips of the dish being made,” Mr Neale said.
“This allows you to watch the recipe being made as you make it yourself, pausing as you do each step.
“We know that people want to do this with their smartphones or tablets, so we have optimised the website to allow use in the mobile environment. Our overriding objective was to give people a good experience when they visit our website looking for pasta recipes. We hope to become the online destination of choice for pasta recipes.”
Australia Day celebrations
Retailers and FMCG brands show their true blue colours in the lead-up to January 26.
Woolworths has launched a competition to find the next great Aussie snag. Customers can create their ultimate sausage on the Woolworths Facebook page for a chance to have the sausage sold in Woolworths supermarkets and to win a private barbecue with Sam Kekovitch.
Darrell Lea has launched a limited-edition range of ‘Green and Gold’ liquorice and rocklea road in time for the nation’s birthday. The soft licorice features distinctive green apple (green) and pineapple (gold) flavours, while the rocklea road is made with lime (green) and banana (gold) marshmallows and are available at Woolworths supermarkets.
Darrell Lea also plans to set a new Guinness World Record for the world’s largest piece of rocklea road to celebrate Australia Day. On Thursday, January 24, the world’s largest piece of rocky road will be made from scratch by five chocolatiers at Darrell Lea’s Sydney factory to a special recipe. The record-breaking attempt is expected to use more than 85kg of milk chocolate, 80kg of ‘green and gold’ marshmallows, 20kg of peanuts, macadamias and walnuts and 8kg of cranberries.
For the first time ever, Australian made Kleenex Tissues and Viva Paper Towels are available in limited edition Aussie designs. Kleenex Tissues features an iconic Aussie flag pack design and Viva Paper Towel twin pack has an ‘I love Australia’ design. They will be supported by combined in-store displays and through social media.
Huggies Nappies with Australia Day Designs are back by popular demand following their success last year. The limited-edition nappies are available in a ‘cute’ blue Australian flag design for boys and a pink design for girls.The Huggies brand is also updating the Huggies Baby Faces app for iPhone and Android with an Aussie theme so parents can take a photo of their baby, add some cute Australia Day accessories and then forward it to friends and family.
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