Home Australia Coles and Woolworths criticized by farmer after trip to Japan

Coles and Woolworths criticized by farmer after trip to Japan

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Andrew Dunlop has raised questions after discovering Australian beef is being sold in Japan in Japanese supermarkets for a fraction of the retail price at Coles and Woolworths.

An Australian farmer has raised questions after discovering Australian beef sold at a retailer in Japan was cheaper than that from Coles and Woolworths.

Andrew Dunlop, a rancher in southern New South Wales, was surprised to find cubed Australian beef on shelves in Tokyo for $18.35 a kilo, about $4 cheaper than in major Australian supermarkets.

Australian strip steak was also photographed for sale in a Tokyo supermarket for 298 yen per 100 grams, which is roughly equivalent to $28.90 per kilogram.

In Australia, Coles sells cubed beef online for around $22 per kilogram, while strip steak sells at Woolworths for between $28 and $40 per kilogram.

Dunlop explained that the meat came from the Hanamasa retail network, a discount retailer known for selling beef at near-wholesale prices.

Andrew Dunlop has raised questions after discovering Australian beef is being sold in Japan in Japanese supermarkets for a fraction of the retail price at Coles and Woolworths.

The Australian tenderloin steak was photographed for sale in a Tokyo supermarket on April 20 this year at 298 yen per 100g, around $28.90 per kg. The same product sells for up to $40 a kilo at Woolworths.

The Australian tenderloin steak was photographed for sale in a Tokyo supermarket on April 20 this year at 298 yen per 100g, around $28.90 per kg. The same product sells for up to $40 a kilo at Woolworths.

Mr Dunlop included a similar price comparison between Japan and Australia in his submission to the ACCC inquiry into Australia’s supermarket sector.

He found it surprising that foreign retailers managed to absorb international shipping costs and a 25 per cent import tariff, while offering their meat at prices that rivaled those in the Australian market.

Dunlop described all the different Australian meats he saw on Japanese shelves.

‘I could see a finely cut product that would be equivalent to our stir-fry… and I saw a casserole,’ he said ABC News.

“I saw a strip steak and they all seemed pretty competitive with what we’d pay here.”

Dunlop believes this situation highlights the dominance of a few powerful supermarkets in Australia.

He explained that unlike Australia, the retail industry in Japan is not dominated by a small number of companies.

“Any individual retailer in Japan probably has at most a 10 percent market share, although there will be some regional differences,” he said.

Australia exports about 70 percent of its meat, with Japan its largest export market in 2022.

Australia exports about 70 percent of its meat and in 2022 Japan was Australia's largest export market.

Australia exports about 70 percent of its meat and in 2022 Japan was Australia’s largest export market.

A Woolworths spokesperson said in a statement that “it wasn’t really possible to make a comparison between Australia and Japan.”

Australia produces beef of a very wide spectrum of qualities,” the spokesperson said.

‘Woolworths purchases premium cattle to very strict quality specifications, quality that is independently certified through the Meat Standards Australia program.

“None of the photographs of Japanese products show this certification.”

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