What do safe sex and milk have in common you ask

Well the answer to that is a lot.  According to 100 Great Things You Can Buy for a Dollar $1 you can buy one condom from a restroom dispenser for $1 and we all know thanks to Coles and heavily subsidised by Australian dairy farmers you can buy 1 litre of milk in this country for $1

With the two year anniversary of Coles declaring the milk price wars would begin they have bought the spin doctors in to garner support for this $1 milk abomination

With the help of specialist food market analysts Freshlogic Coles are once again crying “its isn’t my fault ” and absolving themselves of any responsibility for the dire state of the dairy industry in NSW, QLD and SA

Thanks to Freshlogic apparently here is the good news for milk processors

  • Sales of branded fresh white milk products have grown in Queensland by 11.5% and in NSW by 5.5% in the 5 months of 2012/13, while private label sales have fallen by similar percentages.
  • While private label sales grew in the 2011/12 year, the effects of this growth have been reversed by the effects of strong consumer support for permeate-free products in the first half of 2012/13.

Scary isn’t it fear sells and the “permeate free labels” on the milk processors brands has given them a short term gain for long term pain as the home brand/private labels now too spruik the permeate free claim

Whilst sales may be up its the value of the sale that counts. If you sell something for nothing then we all know no matter how big the number you multiply it by the answer is always nothing  

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This graph tells the real story. As you can see in NSW home brands (private label) hold 48% of milk sales market share. That’s almost 50% of milk being sold in NSW supermarkets provides little or no return to the milk processor. Coles has recently announced it is going to move the $1/litre milk campaign into its convenience stores and you can see why from the graph it is keen to smash the brands in the non-grocery* sector.

Whilst Coles claws back market share from anybody who dares get in their way, back here on the farm there isn’t a blade of grass to be seen and we are hand feeding 1000 cows everyday. Yes Coles you don’t control the weather but you certainly have a huge affect on our ability to cope with the vagaries   

Coles can afford Freshlogic to tell the story they want told because they make billion dollar profits. I don’t need a spin doctor because I can see the devastation by just looking out the window  

What else can you get for a $1 in this country. I don’t have a fax machine but I found out the other day that a local shop will charge me $1.45 per page for local transmissions and $2.85 per page for transmissions to anywhere else in Australia and $5.50 per page for any international transmissions.

Isn’t it a shame that supermarkets seem to think farmers and cows are machines but don’t value them as much.

As Milk Maid Marian says so well in her post today

But what those claiming to be “the voice of reason”  dismiss is the effect ‘milk that’s cheaper than water’ has on the psyche. It signals to farmers that a fair go no longer matters. And that’s what hurts the most on Australia Day.

*The non grocery food and beverage sector is called the Route Trade in supply chain lingo. If you want to learn a little more some valuable insights can be found here 

Route Trade

Author: Lynne Strong

I am a 6th generation farmer who loves surrounding myself with optimistic, courageous people who believe in inclusion, diversity and equality and embrace the power of collaboration. I am the founder of Picture You in Agriculture. Our team design and deliver programs that inspire pride in Australian agriculture and support young people to thrive in business and life