Supermarket superprofits slammed

Farmers have welcomed the Federal Treasurer's announcement on tackling big business market power after the big two supermarkets posted enormous profits this week.

On Tuesday Coles announced a $1.098 billion profit while Woolworths announced a $1.62 billion profit on Wednesday. 

NSW Farmers President Xavier Martin said it was very disapointing that every one of those dollars came out of an Australian’s pocket at a time when families were struggling to make ends meet, repeating calls for action from the federal government.

“Families are facing huge cost of living pressures while farmers are getting paid cents on the dollar for their produce, and the two biggest companies in the middle of the fresh food supply chain are getting fat,” Mr Martin said.

“Farmers have been consistently telling us they're not getting paid anywhere near what the food they produce is retailing for, so it’s hardly surprising Coles and Woolworths are turning such eye-watering profits.

“This is yet another great example of why the Australian Government needs to implement the ACCC’s recommendations to not only support the farmers who grow food, but help reduce prices for families buying that food.”

Among the recommendations from the ACCC’s 2020 Perishable Agricultural Goods Inquiry that could help bring down food prices were:

Making the Food and Grocery Code mandatory with civil penalties for breaches 
An economy-wide prohibition on unfair trading practices
An overhaul of the current merger and acquisition approval process

Mr Martin said while the Treasurer's recent announcement was welcome news, there also needed to be an analysis of supply chain profits, with a focus on markups and price gouging.

“No-one is saying Coles and Woollies can't make a profit – it's just the size of those profits during a cost of living crisis that is the issue,” Mr Martin said.

“The entire reason the ACCC came to be in the first place was to protect the consumer, and it’s about time these recommendations were taken seriously.“

"We’re increasingly hearing from members that they believe retailers are continuing to exercise market power to capture super profits, simultaneously taking advantage of producers and consumers in the process, and it’s long past time something was done about it.”

Date: Wednesday, 23 August, 2023
Media Contact: Steve Mudd  | 0429 011 690 | [email protected]