Home' Grower : Dec 2013 - Jan 2014 Contents News
The South Australian Grower -- December 2013/January 2014 7
Woolies thinks local
By ANDREW MARSHALL
WOOLWORTHS says its
decision to stop import-
ing cheaper tinned fruit
to fill its home brand lines has
paid off handsomely as the big
retailer cranks up diverse efforts
to become far more than just a
Since July, sales of its Select
home brand canned fruit range
have jumped 24 per cent on the
same period last year -- an extra
1.8 million cans -- as customers
respond to Woolies' locally-
The move is part of a bigger
Woolworths strategy to win
shoppers' loyalty which now even
extends to serving up hot cof-
fee and takeaway pizza orders
The retailer is also developing
a drive-through shopping option
to complement its online buying
service and Woolworths' manag-
ing director of Australian super-
markets and petrol Tjeerd Jegen
has big plans for his expanding
health and well-being product and
Close ties with farmers deliver-
ing consistent volumes of quality,
locally-grown product is also a
key factor in Woolworths' strategy
to keep its aggressive rival Coles
at bay while going head-to-head
with overseas-based challengers
Aldi and Costco.
In what is considered one of
the world's most competitive
grocery retailing environments,
Woolworths has added agronomy
support, succession planning and
business training scholarships
to its relationships with primary
"Customers translate locally pro-
duced as 'produced with love',"
Mr Jegen said.
"They want to see more
Australian product and they really
like to see it grown locally, par-
ticularly if it's fresh produce.
"The sentiment is the same
overseas. You see signs in US
supermarkets telling you where
the farmer lives - how far away the
product on the shelf was grown."
Mr Jegen told a Rabobank lead-
ership awards event in Melbourne
in October that Woolies aimed to
be not just a successful supermar-
ket but the nation's most trusted
This strategy required more than
just guaranteed food quality and
freshness, but also supplying a
complete range of food services in
its stores and championing locally
developed brands and regional
Since the new financial year,
its home-brand canned fruit lines
have sourced 100pc Australian
produce through northern Vic
processor SPC Ardmona.
Initial customer response to the
strategy sent the supermarket's
home brand sales soaring as much
as 124pc in fruit-growing areas
such as Mooroopna in Vic in the
first couple of months.
Similar peaks were recorded in
other northern Vic districts, while
Qld and Tas consumers were
strongest overall supporters of the
new local sourcing move.
Woolworths has followed up by
committing to have all its frozen
vegetable lines grown in Australia
by next May, packed by Simplot's
Devonport and Bathurst plant in
Tas and NSW.
The deal replaces imports from
China, New Zealand and Europe.
It will require an extra 660
hectares of vegetables on top of
the 17,700 tonnes already sent
to Woolies by Simplot under
its own brands and Woolworths'
Although all grocery retailers
have been building the status
of their home brands, Mr Jegen
said generic-branded goods rep-
resented just 6pc of products on
Woolworths shelves and about
12pc of sales.
Meanwhile, rival Coles, which
has revved up an Australia-first
sourcing campaign in the past
year, recently announced that it,
too, has contracted SPC Ardmona
to supply its private-label canned
peaches, pears and apricots from
this season's harvest.
Coles chief operating officer
John Durkan said the company
would now be sourcing about
4000t of produce from the
Woolworths boss Tjeerd Jegen says customers translate locally produced
as 'produced with love'. Sales of its home-brand canned fruit lines have
soared this financial year in reponse to its strategy to source 100pc
Australian produce. Photo: Rob Homer.
Canned fruit sales up 24pc
Drive-through plans on
Coles revs up campaign
committed to have all
its frozen vegetable
lines grown in Australia
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