In order to satisfy consumers' growing interest in the welfare of local producers, grocery giant Woolworths is considering launching a new retail brand, Woolworths Local.
With both Coles and Woolworths facing increasing scrutiny over where they source their produce, Woolworths has created marketing imagery for a new label, ‘W Local’, which could be used in both its grocery stores and liquor shops, as well as being used in a retail banner for convenience stores and petrol stations, TMWatch reports
Woolworths has also registered the domain name www.woolworthslocal.com.au and “Woolworths Local” as a trademark.
The branding could be used across a wide range of products, Woolworths confirmed, including frozen, tinned, snack and packaged foods.
In January this year Woolworths announced its Local Food Sourcing Strategy, which involved supporting small and medium sized producers in Australia and negotiating with them to create appropriate production and supply arrangements.
Tjeerd Jegen, Woolworths managing director of Australian Supermarkets and Petrol said "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. Woolworths’ Local Sourcing Managers will work with these suppliers to design a plan that suits their business, whether that’s supplying three stores, or 300 stores.”
The local focus comes at a time when both supermarket chains are under scrutiny from the ACCC, which is investigating claims Coles and Woolworths employ bullying tactics to force producers to drop their prices.
A high profile food brands including Simplot and SPC Ardmona have cited an increasing presence of cheap, imported food products on retailers’ shelves as a key contributor to the tough times they’re experiencing.
Just last week a Goulburn Valley fruit grower began www.foodmag.com.au/news/vff-commences-the-removal-of-goulburn-valley-fruitclearing about 850 plum trees – one of 170 growers told by SPC Ardmona that their fruit will no longer be accepted because an influx of cheap imports, the high exchange rate and a decline in export markets is putting pressure on local food manufacturers.