National Farmers' Federation

Supermarkets too close for comfort

Farmers today will be reviewing with keen interest the first quarterly report from CHOICE on supermarket prices, delivered with support from the Federal Government.

Chair of the NFF Horticulture Council, Jolyon Burnett, said that while most water cooler conversations around the country would revolve around the Aldi basket being significantly cheaper than their larger competitors, many farmers would instead be taking note of the fine margin between baskets bought at Coles and Woolworths.

“One of the significant concerns currently being investigated by the ACCC as part of its Supermarket inquiry is whether the major supermarkets are truly competing on price or if their price matching and promotional strategies are limiting genuine competition,” Mr Burnett said.

“While we’ll have to wait and see what picture future CHOICE quarterly reports paint, and in time the ACCC itself, this first report is telling.

“Just as CHOICE has had to use undercover shoppers roving around the place to collect this data, we are reliably informed supermarkets use the same technique to ensure they are never too far from each other on price.

“Price matching, if practiced by supermarkets, would be an example of a factor other than pure supply and demand influencing the pricing of fresh products.  

“The Council commends CHOICE on their work and the Federal Government on making this investment in greater transparency for the supermarket sector, at a time when farms and households alike are under pressure from increasing costs.”