Woolworths launches local food strategy

Date : 15 January 2013

Australia's market leading supermarket has launched a new local food sourcing initiative that will see it support more small to medium sized local companies and introduce more locally produced food to its shelves.

Supporting local producers fits with range tailoring stratgey

The first locally sourced products will start to arrive in Woolworths stores in late January, with the first being a range of jams and conserves from nine local producers in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania. Woolworths will hope that the new initiative will improve the quality of its offer but also help smaller food suppliers products reach more customers and in turn grow their businesses. Woolworths has taken the step to stock local products having received feedback from its customers, but it also fits with the retailer's wider strategic goal, whereby it aims to further tailor ranging to cater for local needs and create more format differentiation.

Strategy in place to manage both suppliers and Woolworths expectations

The new strategy has been put in place to make sure that Woolworths can manage the process of stocking local lines. The retailer recognises that many small suppliers will not be able to stock all 890 Woolworths stores and therefore there will be added complexity to operations. However, the retailer is keen to work to suppliers' capabilities. It has put in place Local Sourcing Managers that will work with local suppliers to design a plan that suits their production capacity.

Local sourcing rising up the agenda

Supporting Australian producers remains a strong requirement for the consumer when deciding where to shop. Last June, Woolworths' main rival Coles launched local roadshows up and down the country to find the best local produce suppliers.  Woolworths' Managing Director of Australian Supermarkets and Petrol, Tjeerd Jegen, said, 'As a proudly Australian company, Woolworths is at the heart of many local communities – from our capital cities to our country towns, we are committed to supporting local suppliers. Our new Local Food Sourcing Strategy will see us introduce even more delicious Aussie brands and products to our customers.'

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