More than 100 products have been added to Coles' price-slashed 'Down Down' range, bringing the total number of products in this campaign to over 1,000.
The latest price cuts, introduced this week, include eight percent on bread, 13 percent on juice, 27 percent on meat pies and 32 percent vegetable oil, says the Australian. Other discounted products include dairy spreads, cheeses, frozen foods, health and beauty products.
The mark-downs affect private label products only and were prompted by Coles' online research, which found that 65 percent of families are looking for increased savings on their household budget this year.
While the discounts are only guaranteed for six months, products added to the Down Down campaign in July 2012 will remain at the discounted price.
Earlier this week it was reported that Australia has the fastest falling food prices of the developed world, following a long stint as the country with the fastest rising prices from 2000 to 2009.
Price normalisation following natural disasters, the strong Australian dollar, increased competition between the supermarket giants and the growth of other players such as Aldi and Costco were all attributed to grocery price cuts.
Supermarket price cutting has been the bane of many food and beverage manufacturers' lives recently, with key figures including MP Bob Katter and celebrity chef Maggie Beer both slamming supermarket dominance and arguing their price wars threaten the livelihood of local producers.
The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) has released a statement slamming supermarkets for their strong focus on private label and home-brand products, resulting in a reduced product range for consumers.
Research released by Coles, conducted by Deloitte Access Economics and based on its own data, found that its product range has dropped 11 percent from 62,000 products to 55,000 from mid-2010 to mid-2012.*
"These figures confirm what shoppers report anecdotally – that they often can’t find their favourite products on the shelves any more when they go to the major supermarkets," said AFGC's chief, Gary Dawson.
"The latest aggressive campaign by Coles to promote their private label products is a sign that this trend will continue."
Dawson called Coles' pricing cuts "a classic Trojan horse tactic", disguising consumers' loss of choice and supermarkets' efforts to obtain an even greater market share.
Coles' merchandise director, John Durkan, said suppliers can benefit from its Down Down range.
“Helping Australian families make ends meet is our top priority but we know that customers want to know that lower prices for them does not mean suppliers get squeezed. Coles has invested tens of millions of dollars in these price cuts which should benefit Australian suppliers as orders increase,” he said.
The words war between Coles and the AFGC continues, click here to read more.
*The Deloitte Access Economics also found that:
- The average discount among Down Down products is eight percent
- Coles' prices storewide have dropped by an average of 3.2 percent in the year to the end of September