Supermarket giant Woolworths has found itself in hot water over a tweet suggesting imported beans are a “far superior” product to the local crop.
ABC journalist Emma Field yesterday sent Woolworths a tweet asking why all beans in the supermarket she visited were from overseas, but it was the response Woolworths sent on Twitter that made farmers fume.
“Hi Emma, we’re sorry to hear about disappointment towards our tinned beans. We aim to provide the best quality products to our customers and sometimes this means supplying imported products as they’re far superior.
“Nonetheless, we understand your frustration and we’ll be sure to pass your concerns to our relevant team for future considerations. Thanks for getting in touch and have a great day! ❤”
Farmers shocked by tweet
The mention of overseas beans being “far superior” to Australian pulse crops has angered people such as Victorian Farmers Federation vice-president Brett Hosking.
Mr Hosking said the tweet stood in strong contrast to Woolworths’ other statements that it was working hard to support local farmers.
“I was actually quite shocked that they would have come out and said that, to imply that overseas products are superior to local products,” he said.
“Both major supermarkets have put a lot of work into extolling how much work they’ve put into working with growers, and how much they want to support Australian growers.
“Then to set a statement like that that completely contradicts all that rhetoric, it’s really disappointing.”
But it can be hard to find local tinned beans
Mr Hosking conceded it could be hard to find Australian tinned beans on the shelves.
“There is always a challenge of getting things processed domestically,” he said.
“And there’s a variety of reasons for that. The cost of manufacturing is higher than it is in many countries.
“For a processor to set up here in Australia, they’d probably need the support of the major supermarkets saying ‘If you come out and process your products here, we’ll stock them on our shelves.
“So maybe that’s a challenge Woolworths has set for themselves, is to say ‘Alright, if we want the far superior product, we have to help set it up domestically’.”
A Woolworths spokesperson said in a statement: “We apologise for yesterday’s tweet — it does not reflect our view of Australian-grown products.
“In fact, 96 per cent of all our fresh fruit and vegetables is proudly sourced from Australia.
“Sometimes we do need to source products from overseas, but it’s always our first preference to source locally.”