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AU: Aldi strikes back on overseas produce claims

Aldi has hit back at claims that its pricing policies are pushing Australian grwers out of the market. The discounter says that 70% of its grocery sales come from locally sourced products.

"Aldi is committed to Australian manufacturers," the German-owned company said.

Dick Smith, of Dick Smith Foods, told a Senate inquiry into Australia's food-processing sector today that competition pressure from foreign-owned retailers made it harder for local producers to sell to Australian supermarkets Coles and Woolworths.

Aldi had a greater turnover of stock and consistently offered below-cost products from overseas, he said.

Local producers couldn't match the low prices and were pushed out.

"Then they put the price back up again," Mr Smith told the committee hearing.

He even claimed that the price war between Coles and Woolworths, was sparked by Aldi's low price offers.

In one example, Mr Smith said he had intervened to stop an Australian beetroot farmer from burying his crop earlier this year.

He canned the crop and offered it to Coles and Woolworths for $1, but was undercut when Aldi started selling a similar product sourced overseas for 75 cents, he said.

Aldi said all its beetroot was grown and packaged in Australia, and sold above cost.

"Any implication that Aldi beetroot comes from overseas is wrong," the company said.

Mr Smith said he was reluctant to complain to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission because it was likely nothing illegal had taken place.

Source: theaustralian.com.au


Publication date: 5/14/2012


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