Lesley Howard

Lesley Howard

Citizen Journalist at No Fibs
After shouting at the television for many years Lesley decided participation was the best antidote to cynicism. She has a keen interest in supporting sound environmental social practice, communities and democracy in action. Lesley has a Masters of Science, Applied Statistics.
Lesley Howard
- 50 mins ago
Lesley Howard
Lesley graduated from the University of Melbourne with dual majors in Statistics and History and Philosophy of Science. The combination of the two fields formed a strong background in objective research, critical appraisal and the analysis of relationships, and in assessment and reporting. With this skill base she has variously consulted for an Australian timber company analysing the unloading of logs in Chinese ports, reported on the role of SMEs in Defence, critically analysed scientific papers, designed and advised on surveys and sampling for various private and government groups, and reviewed and advised on research proposals as a member of the Royal Melbourne Hospital’s MHREC. Lesley has a keen interest in supporting sound environmental social practice, communities and democracy in action. She is currently completing a Masters of Science, Applied Statistics.

spc-sunday-coles

By Lesley Howard @adropex

9th February 2014 (Updated 11 February 2014)

BACKGROUND 

In a tweet to me @Coles said, “around 90{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of our Coles Brand Food and drink is Australian made”. I asked them to “confirm for me that about 90{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of Coles own brands are 100{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} Aus product.” In response they politely referred me to their website. Such detail of information is not available on their website.

Given the situation with SPCA and the dominant market share (approx 80{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3}) of Coles and Woolworths I got curious as to whether this duopoly has a responsibility in the demise of Australian products and SPCA itself.  I did a quick but not definitive survey, of some products to get an idea. Regarding @Coles claim in a tweet to @margo kingston1 that “Coles is a strong supporter of SPC Ardmona with more than 170 private label & branded products on our shelves” it is impossible to verify this from readily available figures. Whilst SPCA branded products are listed on the website, information about private label manufacturers is not.

Figures were sourced from the Coles and Woolworths online. Coles includes where the product is from on their website but Woolworths does not. Unless Woolworths specifically identify a product origin on the label, as they do with tomatoes and some fruits, it is impossible to know where it comes from without a trip to the supermarket to read the fine print on the label. I went to two Woolworths supermarkets and found the origin of some of their own brand products. Price comparison figures are based on the 400g to 425g products as a standard size.

Figures marked with an* still need to be verified so are not to be taken as a given. 

BAKED BEANS

Baked Beans

Home Brands

SPC

Heinz

Others

Total

Aus

Mixed

O/S

Aus

NZ

Aus

Mixed

O/S

Coles

6

2

8

21

1

2

2

42

Woolworths

1

1

9

24

1

2

38

 

Total

7

3

17

45

2

2

4

80

Coles: 0{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of own brands were Australian products. 21.4{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of total stocks were Australian products and 19{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of total stock had some Australian content. 

Woolworths: 0{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of own brands were Australian products. 26.3{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of total stocks were Australian products and 2.6{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of total stock had some Australian content.

Combined: 0{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of home brands were Australian products. 23.8{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of total stocks were Australian products and 11.3{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of total stock had some Australian content.

BAKED BEANS PRICE COMPARISON

Italics indicates generic home brand

Outlet

Brand

Produced

Price $

$/100g

On Special

W

Homebrand

O/S

0.77/420g

0.18

 

C

Smart buy

Italy

0.91/420g

0.22

 

C

Coles

Aus+O/S

1.00/425g

0.24

 

W

Select

Aus+O/S

1.00/420g

0.24

 

W

SPC

Aus

1.40/425g

0.33

$1.30

W

Watties

NZ

1.45/420g

0.35

C

Watties

NZ

1.46/420g

0.35

C

Organic

Italy

1.63/400g

0.41

 

C

SPC

Aus

1.94/425g

0.46

W

Heinz

NZ

1.99/420g

0.47

C

Heinz

NZ

2.01/420g

0.47

$0.92

CANNED SPAGHETTI

Canned

Spaghetti

Home Brands

SPC

Heinz

Others

Total

Aus

Mixed

O/S

Aus

NZ

Aus

Mixed

O/S

Coles

3

1

2

9

16

2

33

Woolworths

1

1

8

17

3

30

 

Total

4

1

3

17

33

5

63

Coles: 50{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of own brands were Australian products. 36.4{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of total stocks were Australian products and 3{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of total stock had some Australian content. 

Woolworths: 50{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of own brands were Australian products. 30{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of total stocks were Australian products and 0{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of total stock had some Australian content.

Combined: 50{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of home brands were Australian products. 33.3{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of total stocks were Australian products and 1.6{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of total stock had some Australian content.


SPAGHETTI PRICE COMPARISON

Italics indicates generic home brand

Outlet

Brand

Produced

Price $

$/100g

On Special

W

Homebrand

Italy

0.77/420g

0.18

 

C

Smart buy

Italy

0.91/420g

0.22

 

C

Coles

Aus

1.00/425g

0.24

 

W

Select

Aus

1.00/420g

0.24

 

W

SPC

Aus

1.40/425g

0.33

$1.30

C

Watties

NZ

1.46/420g

0.35

C

Organic

Italy

1.63/400g

0.41

 

C

SPC

Aus

1.94/425g

0.46

W

Heinz

NZ

1.99/420g

0.47

C

Heinz

NZ

2.01/420g

0.47

$0.92

CANNED TOMATOES

Canned

Tomatoes

Home Brands

Ardmona

Others

Total

Aus

Mixed

Italy

Aus

Aus

Mixed

Italy

Coles

1

10

10

4

25

Woolworths

1

1

13

8

1

9

33

 

Total

2

1

23

18

1

1

13

58

Coles: 9.1{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of own brands were Australian products. 44{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of total stocks were Australian products and 0{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of total stock had some Australian content.

Woolworths: 6.7{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of own brands were Australian products. 26.7{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of total stocks were Australian products and 6.1{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of total stock had some Australian content.

Combined: 7.7{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of home brands were Australian products. 36.2{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of total stocks were Australian products and 3.4{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of total stock had some Australian content.
CANNED TOMATOES PRICE COMPARISON

Italics indicates generic home brand

Outlet

Brand

Produced

Price $

$/Kg

On Special

W

Homebrand

Italy

0.65/400g

1.61

 

C

Smart buy

Italy

0.71/400g

1.78

 

C

Coles

Italy

0.80/400g

2.00

 

W

Val Verde

Italy

1.00/400g

2.50

C

Coles

Aus

1.07/400g

2.68

 

C

Organic

Italy

1.19/400g

2.98

 

W

Macro

Italy

1.25/400g

3.13

 

W

Ardmona

Aus

1.40/400g

3.50

C

Ardmona

Aus

1.40/400g

3.50

W

Select

Italy

1.49/400g

3.71

 

C

Capriccio

Italy

1.51/400g

3.78

$1.00

W

Annalise

Italy

1.71/400g

4.28

C

Mutti

Italy

2.01/400g

5.03

PROCESSED FRUIT PRODUCTS

It is very hard to make comparisons across such a vast array of products especially as SPCA does not produce all fruits and combination of fruit products available. Given that Woolworths does not include country of source on their website it would be an onerous and time consuming task to inventory products by hand. Canned peaches seem to be the iconic SPCA product so I have surveyed peach products stocked by Coles and Woolworths and I have included a very general comparison of all home brand fruit products and SPCA fruit products excluding fruit juices.

Processed

Fruits

Home Brands

Total

SPCA

Total

Aus

Mixed

O/S

SPC

Goulburn

Ardmona

Coles

17

2

22

41

24

28

2

54

Woolworths

11

17*

28

18

25

2

45

 

Total

28

2

39*

69

42

53

4

99

For every home brand product Coles stocks 1.32 SPCA products.

For every home brand product Woolworths stocks 1.61 products.


PROCESSED PEACHES

Processed

Peaches

Home Brands

GV/SPC

Others

Total

Aus

Mixed

O/S

Aus

Aus

Mixed

O/S

Coles

2

3

13

3

1

22

Woolworths

3

8*

9

3

23

 

Total

5

11*

22

6

1

45

Coles: 40{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of own brands were Australian products. 68.1{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of total stocks were Australian products and 0{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of total stock had some Australian content.

 Woolworths: 27.2{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3}* of own brands were Australian products. 26.1{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3}*of total stocks were Australian products and 0{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of total stock had some Australian content.

Combined: 45.5{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3}* of home brands were Australian products. 60{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3}* of total stocks were Australian products and 0{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3}* of total stock had some Australian content. 

*I was unable to confirm Woolworths figures as the two supermarkets I went to were out of home brand peaches.  Generally their “Select” brands of canned fruit are Australian but their “Homebrand” is sourced from overseas. If this holds true for peaches then the above figures would be indicative.


CANNED PEACHS PRICE COMPARISON

Italics indicates generic home brand

Outlet

Brand

Produced

Price $

$/Kg

On Special

W

Select

Aus

2.03/410g

4.95

 

C

Coles

 

2.05/410g

5.00

 

C

Goulburn V.

Aus

3.24/400g

8.10

W

Goulburn V.

Aus

3.28/400g

8.20

The 400g to 425g container is a standard size and I have used it as a comparison size across brands and outlets. I chose this as the comparison size to ensure niche markets for snack products etc do not influence a basic comparison.

Coles does not list any SPC products in the core 400g to 425g range unless they are bulk packed in multiples of three. In a tweet today @Coles said that “100{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of Coles brand tinned peaches, pears and apricots are sourced from SPC”. This is confusing given that they list Coles Smart Buy brand of canned peaches as South African sourced.

Whilst I have not had any direct contact with Woolworths it is interesting to note the similarity and limitations of the products they offer in this category. It would also be interesting to know if they too sourced the same products from SPC.