It is no secret that two companies have an incredible market share in Australia not just in our food sector but so many of our daily needs are purchased in chain stores owned by Woolworths Inc and Wesfarmers (Coles). Here’s a not so fun fact, for every dollar Australians spend, 23 cents is spent in shops owned by these two companies (Coles, Woolworths, Big W, Bunnings, Woolworths petrol etc… all the subsidiaries of Woolworths and Wesfarmers) That is, almost a quarter of the Australian public’s dollar is spent in their shops.
You might think that this is the same all around the world, think again. Australia’s two largest supermarkets have a 70% market share on groceries, compared to the UK, where the two largest supermarket chains only hold a 48% share and in the US a mere 20%. With a 70% piece of the pie, it doesn’t leave much for smaller independent retailers. ABC’s Hungry Beast video reveals more.
Many producers can be stuck between a rock and a hard place. Having a contract with one of the big two, should be great for business, the reality can be shown to be different. Without many choices to market, they may be forced to cut their selling price (to sometimes below production cost), as has been suggested is the case with the $1 milk war, which has left farmers struggling. “Our cost of production is 64.9 cents a litre and we’re being paid 54 cents a litre, so we’re losing 10 cents a litre.” says David Scholl a farmer from Biggenden who has been put out of business and sold his 120 herd of cows.
The TRUTH About the Supermarket Milk Price War has more information.
Why should I stop shopping at the big supermarkets?
Put your money where your mouth is. Money talks, and make the Big Supers know you’re not happy. You will feel amazing as you know that there are local farmers and families that are being thanked by your choice of dollar usage. Improve your carbon footprint by purchasing a higher percentage of local foods that haven’t been transported all around the country. Shopping with children at local retailers can actually be more enjoyable than the often chaotic, bright, flashy, noisy, advertisement saturated Big Supers. Not to mention the headaches you might save in the car parks! Often you can find a park right out the front of local retailers – which is priceless! By shopping in the smaller local shops, you will begin to develop a relationship with your butcher and local wholefood shop – we believe a much nicer experience than with the Big Supermarkets.
How do I do it?
Here are some of our favourite ways to ditch the Big Supers…
Get on the band wagon, Farmers Markets are the new black and they’re popping up everywhere. There’s no better way to know where your food comes from than to talk to the people to grow it. Find great value basics and spoil yourself with everything gourmet. Turn it into a social event by meeting up with neighbours and friends for a coffee.
Butcher, Baker and Candlestick Maker
Get friendly with your local shops, get your fruit and veggies from your green grocer, meat from your butcher, bread from your baker and toiletries from your chemist, bulk items from your wholefood shop. Spread the love around and help keep locals in business.
Your Backyard – Grow Your Own!
Pull your green finger out! From balcony planter pots, to backyard veggies beds to community garden plots, growing your own is a great way to get in touch with what your eating and what is in season.