SPC in danger again as Woolworths reconsiders contract

By Leith van Onselen

Just two-and-a-half years after avoiding collapse, SPC Ardmona is in trouble once more as Woolworths considers tearing-up its long-term deal to purchase fruit from the cannery. From the Herald-Sun:

Woolworths is reviewing its five-year $70 million contract to buy the almost century-old food processor’s products, after just two years.

Industry sources said the deal was in danger of collapse as the retailer looked to cut costs by switching to other suppliers — possibly to cheap imports from China and Italy — to fill most of its tinned tomato and fruit products…

Woolworths would commit to sourcing only Australian canned tomatoes and fruit locally. He said: “Woolworths regularly reviews our sourcing agreements to ensure we are getting great products at the best value for our customers”…

SPC is the backbone for almost 1000 fulltime jobs in northern Victoria.

There are about 350 jobs at the cannery and 650 in supporting sectors. Growers provide up to another 1000 casual seasonal jobs, from fruit-picking to transport…

The Australia’s ‘dining boom’ in full roar – we can’t even supply our own tinned tomatoes and fruit and will soon be reliant on imports from China of all places. You know, China, where up to 90% of groundwater is said to be polluted and poisoning of the food chain is a frequent occurrence.

If SPC Ardmona ends up closing as a result of Woolworths pulling its support, then a whole range of fruit and vegetable producers in the Goulburn Valley Region would be adversely affected, not to mention many working in supply chain and associated industries.

Total job losses in SPC Ardmona and associated industries could total in the thousands, along with the loss of tax receipts, welfare payments, and the costs of retraining.

SPC Ardmona is Australia’s last fruit and vegetable processor. In a nation that aspires to be the food bowl of Asia, do we really want to lose the ability to process our own food and be reliant on imports instead? Further, do we want region centres like Shepparton to become welfare towns and shrink, placing even more pressure on Australia’s major cities?

Let’s hope cooler heads prevail and Australia’s major supermarkets do the right thing and commit to local procurement.

[email protected]

Leith van Onselen

Comments

  1. *do the right thing and commit to local procurement.*

    Do the right thing by who? As a consumer, I don’t give a fat rat’s clacker about local procurement. If I were a shareholder of Woolworths or Wesfarmers, I wouldn’t either.

    • Frank is quite correct.

      No one should be expected to make a purchase on any basis other than price unless they choose and have the means to do so.

      The issue is whether Australian production can ever hope to compete while the exchange rate is being driven upwards by the future eaters in the capital cities sucking in unproductive capital inflows by the boat load.

      Tell those useless bludgers clustering in the capital cities that they can’t access the NIRP/ZIRP capital flows from our trade rivals to play property speculator and the exchange rate will start to fall as the flows dry up.

      Tell those gooses down in Canberra if they want to run deficits via the facade of “bond sales” they are only allowed to sell their government bonds to registered Australian citizens rather than foreign central banks and other plunder funds and the exchange rate will start to soften. Paying for funds what Australian cities are willing to accept might cool their spend thrift ways a fraction. (Note: Deficits for the most part should be directly monetised by the RBA anyway)

      Tell those sell out Oz merchants (like the Robb-er) that we do not allow mere transfers of title offshore of agricultural land, infrastructure or other significant capitla assets – instead we will only allow joint ventures up to 49% foreign ownership with oodles of skill and technology transfer and the exchange rate bloating inflows will slow.

      The only protection Australian production needs is from the unproductive capital inflows that are distorting our exchange rate.

      Now if Frank also supports unrestricted unproductive capital inflows then he might warrant a finger wagging but if all he is saying that working families should be allowed to buy lowest possible cost given our demented and dysfunctional approach to international capital flows and monetary systems then he is quite right.

      The real finger wagging should be reserved for all those who are not calling for APRA to direct the banks to reduce their usage of offshore borrowing to support mortgage operations for existing property to ZERO. We are talking hundreds of billions of dollars of job exterminating upward pressure on our exchange rate.

      • Why can’t people choose on quality? Why only on price?
        Sorry, you’re just plain wrong.
        Time to make food/supplement/medicines importers specifically liable for the food/supplement/medicines they import in terms of true to label, purity, fitness for consumption.

      • Yep. This isn’t fundamentally a problem with production, unions or the Fairy Godmother.

        It’s the housing parasite sucking in masses of foreign capital which then pushes up our currency, further killing off all our domestic production which we happily swap for ever more expensive housing in the capital cities.

        Great economic strategy guys!

        Time to join the currency wars, AUD between 55-70 cents served us well for a long time, and it needs to come back down along with housing affordability. Problem is how to do this without killing the economy and precipitating a banking crisis which we, the good taxpayers, will likely foot the bill for.

      • Explorer,

        What are you talking about?

        “..No one should be expected to make a purchase on any basis other than price unless they choose and have the means to do so…”

        You are free to make a choice based on quality if you wish to do so. That is what I meant by ‘unless they choose and have the means to do so’.

        Producers are already liable for the quality of the food they sell pursuant to any number of bits of law – If you want more laws or more enforcement because you think that producers are lying or selling unfit product that is fine as ensures that consumers are getting accurate product information.

        But that has nothing to do with the point that Frank is making – which is that “do the right thing” implies you should just buy Australian even when the local item is more expensive or inferior.

        Even if the Australian product is substantially identical and the only difference is something trivial like the ‘attractiveness’ of the packaging people should be free to buy exactly what they choose to buy.

        We want Australian business to produce goods that people want to buy even if they don’t know they are Australian products. A bit like people going to see films because they want to and not because they know that half the cast is Australian.

        All we can do is try to make sure Australian business is not facing a playing field tipped against them from the get go.

        If you want to support Australian industry the single most important thing you can do is to demand an end to the exchange rate manipulating currency war unproductive capital inflows that are killing productive businesses and jobs right across the nation and forcing people to try for employment in those industries that are making a mint throwing the country under the bus.

      • We are also allowed to buy because it is Australian, and not unduly expensive…Buying Australian keeps jobs and wealth production here.

        Think of it: if people don’t have jobs, how are they going to buy other things in our economy? People in Australia that neglect Australian production also sell things (widgets or time) to make their own living – who will buy their goods and services if people keep losing their jobs?

        It’s just a downward wealth spiral; short-sightedness and shirt-termism.

        Sure, import special goods and services to fill gaps from time to time, or take advantage of a special technology, etc – but don’t try to meet our basic needs with imports, such as gruit and vegetables….that is unwise, unsustainable, and ultimately wealth destroying.

        My 2c

      • The BurbWatcher,

        You can buy as a patriot and for the other reasons you have given but you are ignoring the fact that the majority Australians DO NOT buy for those reasons and wishing it were different is a hopeless cause.

        If you want to make a real difference to purchasing decisions quickly you have to remove the effective tariff that is imposed on all Australian labour and production by an exchange rated bloated on unproductive capital inflows.

        But that means telling the banks to stop gorging themselves on the currency manipulating capital exports from the currency warriors – our trade partners and telling the government to stop selling Australian Government Bonds to foreigners. The sale of govt bonds offshore is particularly daft as it is not as though it results in any ‘extra $AUD’ entering the country – All it does it push up the exchange rate and tempt the government to clock up an even larger debt because the yields are lower.

        Do just those two things and the difference to our exchange rate might mean a few more industries, factories and jobs are saved.

        Is it really too hard to say NO to cheap off shore credit that is being extended for the express purpose of manipulating the exchange rate in favour of our competitors?

      • Pfh007 – you’re probably not a diplomat – but, you are completely correct re the distortion to our economy due to the numerous ill effects of these unproductive capital inflows. Judging by some of the responses that you are getting, it appears that many people on this site , and undoubtedly the majority of the gen pop, have little idea what the true societal costs of this Ponzi Scheme are.

      • well explained Pfh007. Apart from what you have stated, I think there are many other areas of the economy that needs radical changes for our country to do well.

    • Fat rats clackers, fried and lightly crumbed, represent The New Calamari for all Australians. Delicious with a nice Kiwi sauvignon blanc and certainly less expensive. Also, less toxic than imported Chinese food.

    • How would you know that Chinese producers are sanitary when they handle product that is meant to be clean? That the water used to produce produce is not polluted? That the fertilizers and pesticides aren’t dubious and carcinogenic?

    • possibly we need to use your Weibo account name 坦率

      I’m increasingly annoyed that I’m not given the option to pay more for locally grown food. I don’t know how many australians are willing to, but surely there’s a market for product that I’m reasonably confident wasn’t grown with contaminated ground water and not coated in toxic chemicals banned for decades in the west.

      It’s funny how people in China are happy to import from Australia because they’re scared of the local produce, but the oligopoly of the super markets is happy to dump the product on our plates.

      • Move to Double Bay Bro! You’ll get the opportunity to pay more for just about everything! As you allude – the Coles Woolies thing is a nightmare. We’ll have to wait and see if they get pharmacy too

      • Really good point, on choice.

        Farmers markets – they’re springing up in the cities, right?

        If not in your area, how about organising some local(ish) farmers to do so?

        What about local farmers banding together for roadside stall food trail? Easy in the Shepparton region – tie it in with visits to Tahbilk, etc etc

        Lots of ideas, if people get off their bums

      • Yee, agree. I hunt around for the ever diminishing local produce, (mainly for quality and supporting local producers – and what’s the point of consuming cheaper stuff if it negatively impacts health in the long run). I know quite a few oldies who do so too, even though many of them don’t have much in the food budget. We also grow a few bits and pieces, not a lot but enough to supplement the diet. Aussie Farmers Direct is a good option…perhaps that kind of thing will increase in popularity for those of us interested in sourcing local produce – for whatever reason.

      • Sydney Boy,

        The masses are dumb. You can buy local, I do at the local farmers markets in Melbourne every weekend. Yes the food is more expensive but you pay for what you get and I want taste and the knowledge of who farmed it and where.
        I have just returned from Gippsland, tried buying a crayfish at the docks, $100 a kg, asked why so expensive, they are all getting sent to China. Tried buying some organic beef, meet a farmer at the local, he said I can bring you in some tomorrow but the locals don’t support the prices for the quality of meet produced locally so the supermarkets don’t buy it, the good stuff is all going to China. The theme for the week just kept presenting itself.

    • @Frank– “Do the right thing by who? As a consumer, I don’t give a fat rat’s clacker about local procurement. If I were a shareholder of Woolworths or Wesfarmers, I wouldn’t either.”

      What a total tool !

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      Well, If we dramatically lower safety standards, working conditions and wages then we wouldn’t be losing so much employment to China and elsewhere,…you first Frank,… ya Grub.

      “As a consumer” That’s the problem with “the West” Everybody thinks of themselves as nothing more than a “Consumer”,…. esp youngins who then go on to later whine about how they can’t afford to buy a house or get a job that isn’t shit.

      Wake Up Doofus!

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      As for your ” If I were a shareholder of Woolworths or Wesfarmers, I wouldn’t either.”

      Well there is an argument for heavy tariffs right there. There is just no National Solidarity anymore, no “Home Bias” from our economic “Champions”

      “Rather interestingly these issues were foreseen by the great founders of modern economics, Adam Smith for example. He recognized and discussed what would happen to Britain if the masters adhered to the rules of sound economics – what’s now called neoliberalism. He warned that if British manufacturers, merchants, and investors turned abroad, they might profit but England would suffer. However, he felt that this wouldn’t happen because the masters would be guided by a home bias. So as if by an invisible hand England would be spared the ravages of economic rationality. That passage is pretty hard to miss. It’s the only occurrence of the famous phrase “invisible hand” in Wealth of Nations, namely in a critique of what we call neoliberalism.[25]”

  2. SPC should talk to Aldi. They are bashing Coles and Woolies to death with their business model. Maybe that’s why they Woolies are looking to screw their supply chain.
    Just to clarify, SPC is the biggest processor, but there are a lot of smaller processors around Australia that would pick up the slack, although this would cause supply issues for the growers. Back in the day cooperatives resolved this problem until they were crushed by the large processors, including SPC, because the growers thought it would be easier to deal with a non associated processor. Hence the grower owned co-ops who were acting as volume accumulators and storage points were sold off by the growers to processors like SPC and others who have since left these shores. Also SPC are big in the fruit bowl but there are a lot more fruit regions than Griffith and the Riverina. SPC gets our attention because they are the last biggy, but the industry is bigger than SPC imo.

    • Aldi’s business model is based on avoiding established expensive brands like SPC and creating their own from ingredients sourced from less costly suppliers in China and India. The Aldi customer, willing to endure substandard service, long checkout queues and bring your own bag, to save a few pennies doesn’t care if the tin of fruit is labelled SPC or CPC (Cheap Piece of Crap) they just want the cheapest. But its false economy, the home brands of the bigger grocery giants are as cheap and given their buying power are better quality and locally sourced. And when you add loyalty rewards which are redeemable for cash, they are cheaper in the long run.

      • “Aldi’s business model is based on avoiding established expensive brands like SPC and creating their own from ingredients sourced from less costly suppliers in China and India”.

        Wrong. Aldi sells a higher proportion of Aussie made food than the majors. SPC Ardmona supplies lots of its canned fruits and tomatoes.

        “The Aldi customer, willing to endure substandard service, long checkout queues and bring your own bag, to save a few pennies…”

        As opposed to the majors where you now have to scan your own products and pack your own bags.

        “But its false economy, the home brands of the bigger grocery giants are as cheap and given their buying power are better quality and locally sourced”.

        They are no more or less Australian than Aldi’s products. As for quality, have you ever actually shopped at Aldi?

        “And when you add loyalty rewards which are redeemable for cash, they are cheaper in the long run”.

        Yeah good one. Do you work in the propaganda department of the majors?

        I try to always by Australian. And I have no problem finding ample Aussie made goods at Aldi.

      • I only buy fresh ozzy fruit and veg and ozzy brands and I look at them very carefully to make sure they are not just packed in oz. Even so we save circa 45% on each shop.
        And yes they don’t have the major brands but I have noticed those brands are sometimes packed from product sourced overseas anyway so you can’t tell me the big 2 or 3 are playing by the rule book. Nah, shop Aldi and send a message to the conglomerates – isn’t that what this blog is saying?

      • @UE

        Have you actually been in Aldi? Aside from the fresh produce which obviously is mostly locally sourced since it would be uneconomical to import bananas, most of their products are sourced outside of Australia. I challenge you to compare the home branded products from all three, you will be surprised that the bigger two have more locally sourced ingredients.

        Self-checkout is a choice, they have manned checkouts if that is what you prefer. At Aldi no such convenience, whether you have a few items or a full trolley you are herded into a long queue with only one or two checkouts in operation at any one time.

        Yes. I have shopped at Aldi for years but when one of the two others improved, I switched, similar price, similar or better quality, better range and faster checkout.

        The rewards programs add further discount to your shopping, how often have you been surprised at the Aldi checkout with $10 or $20 in cash? If you know how to play it, you can also accumulate and get an ipad or free flights.

        If you are concerned about supporting Australian business, why are you shopping at a foreign owned chain that expatriates the profits to Germany? The other two are Australian owned and our nation’s biggest employers.

      • Fred is 100% correct
        Aldi’s capacity management is absolutely woeful

        Stopped shopping there

        Much prefer self checkout at Coles

    • Malcolm,

      Most of the tinned stuff in Aldi is coming from the protection hot houses around the globe. Tinned corn, fish and a load of other stuff from Thailand and Vietnam etc.

      There were some nice looking tinned fruits in Aldi the other week – in glass – from Greece.

      Rice bubbles from France

      Coco Pops from Germany

      How can we hope to compete when our debt bloated exchange rate even makes our rice bubbles uncompetitive ?

      • Yeah I get that 007 but I don’t buy that imported crap. See my post above – I only shop local product and read the product sources very carefully. It’s handy being a grey nomad with too much time on my hands. Cheers.

      • You don’t need to be a grey nomad to enjoy sussing out a label and trying to spot the BS !

        Made in
        Manufactured in
        Assembled in

        Weasel words aplenty.

      • LOL, my heart is bleeding

        Why buy your rice as rice bubbles when you can buy it as …. rice.

        Hell, it’s even healthier in its natural form

        HOOCOODANODE

        You can’t cry poor if you can’t afford Kellogs Coco Pops

        FMD
        Rolled oats for breakfast

        It’s not rocket science

      • Superunknown,

        Don’t do breakfast. Breakfast was invented by religious cults and then hijacked by Food Inc. 🙂

  3. Australia needs better antitrust laws to prevent Coles and Woolies continually holding farmers and manufacturers to ransom.

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      They wouldn’t be allowed to hold the market share they do here in the United States.
      They’d be forced to be broken up.

  4. Woolies can go fook themselves if they import canned food from China, my wife and I will not buy any foods that come from China. New Zealand is on that list too.

    • You don’t want to buy food from China or New Zealand? That’s your choice to make. Others will make a different choice.

      • if you ever visit rural china Frank you would change your tune, I used to visit factories on the east coast of china a couple times a year and always got to marvel at how a crop of whatever is growing right beside a factory with the factory waste water pumped straight onto the fields, or filthy canal water with dead fish in it is being pumped and then sprayed all over crops, you cannot believe it till you see the cess pit that is the east coast of china.

        maybe read this Frank then go have a lie down
        http://www.chinapost.com.tw/commentary/the-china-post/frank-ching/2014/04/30/406518/Chinas-big.htm

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        Well, Given the Choice Frank, many men would go the 12 year old prostitute at the local brothel, “Given the Choice”,…thankfully due to legislation, to protect the community, few such establishments would risk selling Children, to grown men to fuck.

        Sometimes Frank, there is a higher principal than your “Choice” to buy whatever the fuck you want at the cheapest price possible.

      • I managed suppliers from China and many of their products have to be returned or “set aside” because they failed to confirm if the contents are according to specification and requirements.

        Some Chinese suppliers are improving, but most are just worried about cranking out products regardless of quality and regulations.

  5. I’d love to buy Australian canned tomatoes, but SPC products are clearly poorer in taste than the (more expensive) organic products I buy, and the quality Italian ones.

    Why this is I have no idea. Agree on the No to Chinese food products though.

    • SPC is a union shop. Unions are not always reknowned for making demands that ensure companies remain competitive, profitable and workers keep their jobs.

      SPC has an unsavoury record in this regard.

      • SPC has been on the brink several times. Most famously when the company negotiated with the union to request a temporary cessation of some conditions in order to give the company opportunity to stabilise, rejig operations and ultimately return to profitability. Union negotiators refused. Company set in train course to closure. Workers horrified at prospect of redundancy negotiated directly with company circumventing the unions and agreed to necessary cessation of some conditions. Company survived, workers retained jobs and eventually conditions reinstated.

        Only a couple of years back SPC found itself again in strife with an equally intransigent Union. SPC conditions are generous – if it comes to it, room for change – jobs or renegotiation

        Up to 20 days of unused sick leave is paid out when an employee leaves the company;
        Only recent employees are limited to one year pay on redundancy/severance – all others (and this will be virtually all of them) can receive up to 104 weeks pay (4 weeks for each year of service) and for very some very long term employees, the figure is even higher;
        And wait for this – there is a loading on the lump sum according to the age of the employee, starting from aged 50;
        SPC Ardmona is a union shop, with the company agreeing to a union representative attending induction and agreeing to encourage union membership;
        There are 8 union reps on site (shop stewards) and they are entitled to 5 days paid leave to attend trade union training. They can also undertake union business on company time;
        Overtime is paid at pretty much standard rates it would seem – eg. time and a half on Saturdays (so much for Barrie’s assertion there);
        And wait for this, the workers receive a Rostered Day Off every month;
        And then there are ridiculous allowances, such a having a first aid certificate, container allowance, bright can allowance (I am not making this up), wet place allowance, cold allowance;
        Annual leave looks excessive – 28 days, compared with the norm of 20 days, with leave loading paid for the full period;
        Compulsory income protection insurance (a union racket for which the company pays part of the premium

        Will the Victorian CFMEU Govt stump up another $22m?

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        I’ll take a Wage/Price spiral over your crappy neofeudalism any day Xo and so would the majority of the citizens in our “Democracy”,…if they were allowed to make the choice.

  6. reusachtigeMEMBER

    Stop being racialist against chinamen! They make excellent food products and that is why so many Aussies go shopping for food in china supermarkets and then ship it back here to make super profits on it. It’s tops gear!

  7. *If SPC Ardmona ends up closing as a result of Woolworths pulling its support, then a whole range of fruit and vegetable producers in the Goulburn Valley Region would be adversely affected, not to mention many working in supply chain and associated industries.*

    And if the real estate boom ends then a whole lot of people in that and related industries are going to be affected too. You’re not going to weep for them.

    Businesses open. Businesses close, especially the ones who aren’t much good at what they do. They get replaced by businesses who are better than they are. If the replacement businesses are based overseas, interstate or in the next town or suburb, that’s neither here nor there.

    SPC’s problem is that not enough people want to buy SPC products. If they did, Woolworths wouldn’t be thinking about pulling the plug.

    • I don’t know enough about SPC to know what their problem might or might not be. However as per pfh’s posts if you had an A$ at its real value based on our ability to balance our economy without borrowing, or selling assets, to the tune of $60 Billion, that is like $60000000000, every single damned year then SPC might not only be competitive locally but also a mighty exporter – as I said i don’t have the details of their business to make a judgement. However given that I reckon we’re currently talking an A$ between 30 cents and 40 cents long term to satisfy the above requirement I’d be guessing that SPC and the associated farmers would probably look mighty efficient!

      Hmmm xo’s comments aside!!!!

      • I don’t discount the impact of the strong AUD – I’ve said on these pages before we focus a lot on companies who fail to thrive due to the AUD but ignore those that managed to survive in recent times – yes – they must be doing something very right. In SPCs case efficiencies probably exist every step of chain only to be eroded by generous conditions on the factory floor. This has happended at SPC before and the workforce responded to the challenge. A job is better than no job. Especially if you’re in Shepparton.

  8. Businesses operate far more efficiently and productively when they are protected by government.
    The Australian tax-payer should be protecting Coca-Cola from competition.
    We should give them another $22m asap.

    • It’s rent seeking pure and simple. Funnily enough, property industry rent seekers have no greater foe than Leith. But food producing rent seekers another matter.

      • Don’t forget the foreign-owned serial-loss-making car-company rent-seekers
        What is it with Victoria/SA’s addiction to corporate welfare?

    • Italy subsidize their farmers to dump their tomatoes in Australia, and every car manufacturer in the world receives government subsidy. Stick to ‘market principle’, go extinct, and watch the rest of the world dance on the grave of your industries.

  9. My two pennies worth;
    On a positive note- that tin can stuff is old school!

    Localised production using solar energy to turn brackish water into power and freshwater is already available to one of the duopoly.

    http://www.abc.net.au/landline/content/2016/s4547781.htm

    ……..Just waiting for ‘accelerationism’ to push the contradictions of capitalism forward via rapid growth and development to make this small scale and available in the Aldi ‘boys toys’ aisle.

    Libertarian Marxism here we come. One can still dream of pluralism and a techno-utopia, can’t one?

    • +1 Maybe Woolworths have realised (like Coles) they want to support viable sustainable innovative Australian businesses

      • Possibly, does supporting sustainable enterprise help Woolworths (or Coles for that matter) achieve their KPI’s? I’m not sure. The consumer could influence it, on the margins.

        Greater influence may come from the democratisation of the technology.

  10. Why should anyone else care about their self-inflicted problem? Relevant link:
    http://results.aec.gov.au/20499/Website/HouseDivisionPage-20499-231.htm

    In 2016 the good people of Shepparton voted 70% on first preferences for the Liberals and Nationals combined, up from only 63% in 2013. The government touted its trade policies far and wide and has never pretended to have any intention of wanting to restrict imports or support industries that can’t compete, so anyone reasonable would have to conclude that they really want this. Who cares if they get what they voted for and become another of this government’s “successes”? They should fix it themselves or shut up and learn to live with it.

    P.S. the cheap canned fruit at Coles comes from South Africa and tastes better.

  11. adelaide_economistMEMBER

    I make a point of only buying Australian tinned produce (to the extent I buy stuff in tins) but I’m under no illusion that I’m not the majority. I’m pretty certain my local woolworths has about 7 types of diced tomatoes in tins and only one is Australian product.

    Yes it’s dearer but not by much. Unfortunately in Australia people will let their entire local industries die to save 30c every couple of weeks but happily borrow $700k to buy an old fibro house in the outer suburbs. Funny stuff.

    But it’s not just food. Coincidentally or not Woolworths just announced the normal brand of clothes detergent I buy was ‘permanently down in price’. Nice. Oh. Old bottle says Made in Australia. New bottle (identical) now Made in China. There go some more jobs.

    And yeah I wonder how many people buying made in China food stop to ask themselves why the Chinese themselves don’t want to eat their own food (or consume their own supplements)? Nah, must be racism – not an unbelievably contaminated environment, low standards and near zero awareness of what’s ‘acceptable’. There’s a reason we’ve had everything from poo stained blueberries, lead-infused toothpaste, toxic dog food and melamine containing baby milk powder…

    • blacktwin997MEMBER

      Average people with a $700k loan can only afford to buy Chinese made food. I wonder how long it will be before the Chinese work out that most ‘Australian’ food is actually made in China or New Zealand (a.k.a. China) and start looking elsewhere for safer products?

      We’re all for the Australian products too as far as we can – it’s getting harder by the day as you’ve said. It’s a sad state of affairs where the once regular Australian notions of ‘imported’ and ‘local’ become inverted to be mostly synonymous with lower and higher quality respectively.

      • Funny! We started to try to export some food products out of NZ to China!!!! We ran into all sorts of ‘health’ related barriers – up to the dyes in icing for the eyes of the gingerbread men!

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        Well there is a little example right there, of the Chinese state protecting its own industries.
        We are fools, not to be doing the same.

    • I live in an suburb with majority mainland Chinese population. Our Chinese friends advice is emphatic – do not buy any food from China.

      • I go to a city called Zibo from time to time. The pollution there is so bad that food grown there is not allowed to be sold anywhere else – even in China!!! This law was as of about 10 years ago and I presume still in force – the pollution certainly hasn’t improved.

    • My local hardware store offers a choice between imported and locally made star pickets. The Aussie made star pickets cos 10c more each than the Chinese ones. Its a wonder they would bother importing. But then I suppose if a farmer is buying hundreds of them it might add up?

  12. Woolies will be dead and buried if they go Chinese food. Even Chinese restaurants don’t like using local food. If you’ve never eaten in a real Chinese restaurant you wouldn’t know that to this day they leave the bones in whatever meat they cut up, just so that the customer can have some assurance as to the nature of the animal protein they’re eating.

    Fish are still brought out (alive) to the table so that the customer can visually confirm the health of the fish. Even in the flashy new restaurants that are all glass and gloss, they still bring the fish out.

    It’ll take 1 properly detected outbreak of carcinogen or disease via those channels before Woolies go running for new suppliers. How stupid that Woolies can’t even keep milk powder on the shelves for all the sales to China via private online sales, and they’re thinking of importing from China? Do they not ask themselves why the Chinese would pay such steep prices for some milk powder?

    • First of all, it’s not milk powder, it’s three brands of baby formula. Second of all, there are currently no shortages anymore… Either the craze has died down, tougher competition appeared from other countries, or the Aussie suppliers worked out how to sell directly to China and cut out the middlemen. I predicted the last possibility last year.

      • Baby formula is milk powder. Nobody was unclear on what I meant. I did consider writing ‘formula’ but I felt that ‘milk powder’ got my point across. I was also aware that it was only specific formulas. None of that undermines my point that people are buying from unknown third parties and incurring consumer level shipping charges to buy an off-the-shelf product just to avoid buying local.

  13. “Further, do we want region centres like Shepparton to become welfare towns and shrink, placing even more pressure on Australia’s major cities?”

    Bwahahahahaaaa! Stupid damned question. Look! If you shut down Shepparton that means Sydney and Melbourne can grow more. The value of the Real Estate goes up for the big majority of people and we can all be rich.
    Dunno why you have to make everything so complicated. You need a bit of coaching from Reusa – See! Even someone like me can learn!