Woolworths operates 992 supermarkets and 530 petrol sites across Australia. We are Australia’s largest supermarket chain. The People, Planet and Prosperity pillars support our stakeholder engagement strategies and help us to deliver the superior service, choice, value and convenience that are essential for business growth.
At Woolworths Supermarkets, we believe good prices help to ensure everyone can eat and live well.
Our ‘Low Price Always’ and ‘Price Dropped’ programs provide customers with low prices on hundreds of products. In FY16, we added over 100 products to these programs, contributing to our overall price investment of over $500 million in FY16.
During 2015/16, we invested approximately $45 million into the meat category. This meant we could provide roast leg of lamb and other family favourites at an affordable price so more people could enjoy them more often.
We are committed to improving labelling and increasing transparency in Woolworths Supermarkets so customers have the information they need to choose food that matches their personal expectations around health, ethics and sustainability.
HEALTH AND NUTRITION
We are committed to making healthy choices easier for our customers by providing clear and transparent labelling, removing additives and improving the nutritional profile of our products.
A dedicated team of accredited nutritionists makes sure we offer a wide variety of affordable healthy foods and helps our customers to make informed purchasing decisions by providing accurate and detailed nutritional information.
HEALTH STAR RATING
Woolworths was the first Australian retailer to commit to implementing the Australian Federal Government’s voluntary Health Star Rating (HSR) front of pack labelling program. The system allows customers to make quick and easy comparisons between packaged foods within a category, based on their nutritional profile. The more stars, the healthier the choice.
At year end FY16, over 50% of products in the Woolworths Own Brand portfolio had applied the star rating. In May 2016, the Health Star Rating secretariat reported that more than 3,950 products carried an HSR. Almost one third (1,300) were Woolworths Own Brand products.
We are on track to have stars across all eligible products within four years, well ahead of the Federal Government's five-year timeframe for completion.
THE HEALTH FOOD PARTNERSHIP
As part of our broader health commitment, Woolworths has adopted the targets set by the Food and Health Dialogue (now The Healthy Food Partnership), a joint government and food industry initiative that aims to improve Australian dietary habits.
Our program has focused on reducing the sodium content of foods from nine commonly-consumed categories and the saturated fat in our processed meats.
To date, Woolworths has met the Australian government salt reduction targets by slowly lowering the salt content of 75 products since 2012. This has resulted in a 15% reduction in salt, which means Woolworths has contributed over 200 tonnes less salt and 11 tonnes less saturated fat to the food supply. Our remaining range of Woolworths salt reduced hams are launching in October this year.
Over the past year we have continued our work in eliminating artificial colours, flavours and preservatives from Woolworths Own Brand products (including sodium benzoate) wherever possible.
Our focus is on removing the additives our customers have asked us to remove, such as MSG, which we no longer use. We have reformulated more than 650 Own Brand products in accordance with our brand guidelines to deliver ‘cleaner’ products to our customers.
Since 2012, Woolworths has contributed 83 tonnes less sugar to the food supply.
During FY16 we continued to improve the overall nutritional value of our core breakfast cereal range, reducing sugar in some of our most popular lines by 23%-43%. We also launched a range of healthier cereals. Woolworths Reduced Sugar Cereal contains 50% less sugar than comparable leading cereal blends and provides 25% of the recommended wholegrain daily intake. This cereal won 2016 Product of the Year in Australia’s biggest independent consumer survey on innovation.
We relaunched the Woolworths Select Muesli bars in FY16 with an improved Health Star Rating. Every year, the reformulation will remove 500 million kilojoules, 10 tonnes of sugar, 14 tonnes of saturated fat and 578 kg of salt from Australia’s pantry shelves.
INCREASED FRUIT AND VEGETABLE GROWTH
Due to a combination of lower shelf prices and lower market costs, our fresh produce has become more affordable, leading to a rise in produce purchasing. In FY16, our fresh produce tonnage was 8% higher than FY15 – 70,000 tonnes more produce sold.
Animal welfare is important to Woolworths and to our customers. During the year we continued to work responsibly in this area, progressing and positively influencing approaches to animal welfare for farmed and other live animals. For example, we have CCTV coverage throughout the Australian poultry supply chain. Our Animal Welfare Policy will be published on our website in the coming months.
Our Quarterly Technical Reviews include reviewing welfare outcomes to help us identify any issues concerning animals’ physical, mental and behavioural wellbeing.
THE TOP FOUR PRODUCT CATEGORIES THAT CONTRIBUTED LESS SALT TO THE FOOD SUPPLY
|% INCREASE OF VOLUMES IN 2015||% INCREASE OF VOLUMES IN 2016||% OF TOTAL CATEGORY VOLUMES IN 2016|
|Macro free range chicken||-2.64%||7.83|
|Free range eggs||8.52%||-0.09||71.35%|
|Barn laid eggs||8.15%||1.08||19%|
Woolworths has committed to phasing out cage produced eggs and to stop using them as an ingredient in our Own Brand products where egg is a defined ingredient.
All Woolworths Free Range chicken meat and eggs are Free Range Egg and Poultry Australia (FREPA) Approved. We source all Own Brand fresh chicken from farms that are RSPCA Approved (or equivalent). Compared to standard meat chickens, these chickens have more space and a more comfortable environment.
Our welfare commitment for chicken extends to the chicken used as a defined visible ingredient (e.g. chicken pieces) in our Own Brand food products. We have committed to only using RSPCA Approved (or equivalent) chicken in our Own Brand products – where chicken is a defined ingredient.
Woolworths worked collaboratively with our fresh pork suppliers throughout 2015/16 to develop and launch the Pig Welfare Blueprint. Now fully rolled out, this end-to-end review of animal husbandry and animal welfare will provide clear direction to our fresh pork suppliers.
Genetically Modified (GM) food
Woolworths does not allow the use of genetically modified (GM) ingredients in Woolworths branded products. We do not prohibit suppliers from using GM feed in the production of our non-organic meat, eggs and milk but we do offer customers an organic range.
Animals used to produce all our Own Brand organic range of meat, eggs and milk are reared on non-GM feed. Our GM requirements are outlined in our Brand Guidelines and Woolworths Quality Assurance (WQA) Standard.
FARMERS AND WORKERS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
We are aware that the production of agricultural commodities such as tea, coffee and cocoa can include child labour or forced labour deep within the supply chain, beyond our direct suppliers. We therefore seek out products that are independently certified by organisations that support better prices and working conditions for farmers and workers in the developing world, such as FairtradeTM, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ Certified.
We offer customers a wide range of certified Own Brand and other brands in the tea, coffee and chocolate categories and are continually looking to move other Own Brand products to these independently certified sources.
Sustainable fish and seafood
In March 2011, we announced our long term goal of only sourcing sustainable seafood. This means wild caught seafood sourced from abundant stocks using methods that do not damage ocean habitats or non-target species; and farmed seafood from aquaculture systems that do not destroy coastal habitats or depend on overfished wild caught fisheries as feed.
In FY16, an estimated 8,522 tonnes of seafood sold behind the counter in our Australian Supermarkets was certified sustainable by credible third party certified fisheries and farms. We recognised independent certifications as global best practice, such as the Marine Stewardship Council and others 1.
All Woolworths Own Brand tuna is sourced from fisheries that do not use harmful methods such as fish aggregating devices (FADs), which threaten turtles, dolphins, sharks and juvenile tuna. Our Select canned tuna range is all ‘pole and line’ caught.
In 2007, Woolworths committed to achieving zero food waste to landfill by increasing access to landfill diversion options for stores and encouraging stores to separate food waste into organics bins. At least one of these options is available to 97% of our Supermarkets.
Third party partnerships
Most of our food waste reduction solutions are supported by successful partnerships with external parties such as national food charities and local groups that turn the food into meals for those in need.
Our major food waste reduction partners
|TOTAL FOOD RELIEF DIVERTED TO THOSE IN NEED: 6.4 MILLION MEALS, WORTH $3.2 MILLION 1|
|FOODBANK AUSTRALIA||FARESHARE FOODBARN H2||SECONDBITE||OZHARVEST|
|1,300 tonnes of food||436 tonnes of food||811 tonnes of food||684 tonnes of food|
|2.6 million meals||872,400 meals||1.6 million meals||1.4 million meals|
- The ratio of rescued food to number of meals is based on a 500g meal size and a value of $0.5 per meal, as agreed at the SVA Food Forum.
THE ODD BUNCH
More than one third of shoppers purchase whatever produce is cheaper, regardless of marks or appearance. We take advantage of this to reduce our food waste by offering misshapen fruit and vegetables through our ‘The Odd Bunch’ initiative.
In FY16, we sold more than 30 million kilograms of these fruit and vegetables, which would otherwise have been food waste. This was a 174% increase on the previous year.
Our customers want value for money and the best possible price. Delivering that requires our business to run as efficiently as possible and at low cost, and by negotiating the best price for products from our suppliers. It is our responsibility to balance providing value to our customers and a fair return on investment to our suppliers.
During 2015/16 we worked on building closer supplier relationships. We offered them training courses on topics such as quality and supported them as they prepared for the Country of Origin labelling changes.
We are working with the Advantage Group to better understand our suppliers by receiving more regular feedback and obtaining additional feedback specific to our Own Brand business.
During FY16 Woolworths continued to work closely with suppliers over compliance with the new Grocery Code of Conduct. In FY15 Woolworths was the first national retailer to commit to this Code, which we helped to develop along with industry partners and the Australian Food and Grocery Council. It gives Australian supermarkets and suppliers clear working guidelines while ensuring fair competition continues to deliver the best possible prices for our customers.
LOCAL SUPPLIER RELATIONSHIP CASE STUDY: MARGARET RIVER BEVERAGES
MARGARET River Beverages is poised to launch a range of multipacks featuring their popular, locally made soft drinks and founder and manager Bernard Ryan has this, and many other reasons to smile. Established by Mr Ryan in 1999, the family-focused business is experiencing an extraordinary boost in sales and there have never been more opportunities to purchase the range of sodas across the state. “We are stocked by Dôme cafes up in Perth, which is a great way for people to be introduced to our products,” Mr Ryan said.
FOUR OF 25 PRODUCTS IN THE ODD BUNCH
Local sourcing 2
More than half our customers say that buying local food is extremely or very important to them 3.
In 2014 we launched our Local Sourcing initiative nationally to increase our customers’ choices and raise their awareness of locally-sourced products. Our team of state-based Local Sourcing Managers source products that are made or grown locally in their home state and help to raise awareness of the benefits of buying local.
More than 3,400 products are now part of our state Local Sourcing Program. Since its launch, we have added over 500 new products to our range and 60 new suppliers. This is in addition to having 96% Australian fresh fruit and vegetables. Our new suppliers include:
Stroud Valley Harvest Free Range Eggs, which supplies 16 of our Newcastle and Northern NSW stores with free range eggs. We have sold over 27,000 cartons of their eggs since November 2015 4.
Boosey Creek Cheese makes artisanal cheese and is located approximately 250 kilometres north of Melbourne. Since March 2016, they have delivered directly to 10 4 of our stores in their local region and sold over 5,000 units.
IMAGE: Photo courtesy of Legendairy.
Farmers’ Own milk
Woolworths buys this permeate-free range of milk and cream from local farmers rather than through a processor. We negotiate directly with farmers to ensure they receive an agreed, sustainable price.
We launched Farmers’ Own in 2013 with milk from Manning Valley (NSW) farmers. We now stock Farmers’ Own milk from the Margaret River region (WA), Otways region (Vic), Sunshine Coast hinterland (Qld) and the Barossa Valley (SA). We source millions of litres of milk directly from 22 local farmers and supply it to hundreds of Woolworths stores.
On average, we sold 18 million litres of Farmers’ Own milk per week across Australia in FY16, providing regular income that enabled some of the farmers to invest in farm improvements and upgrades.
On top of considering price and quality, many customers are brand loyal. As well as Woolworths Own Brands, we offer a wide range of nationally recognised brands that still comprise most of our total product range.
How our Supermarkets invest in communities
|Total Investment||$43 million|
|Customer fundraising||$15.5 million|
|In kind||$16.0 million|
|Staff time||$6.2 million|
Woolworths Supermarkets continues to support a broad range of charity partners, from national campaigns to local community groups.
Each year, our staff in every state nominate the charity they want to support.
Local charities our Supermarkets chose to support in 2015/16
|NSW/ACT||Variety, the children’s charity||$1,270,761|
|QLD||Children’s Hospital Foundation||$3,973,672|
|VIC/TAS||Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation, Good Friday appeal, Give Me Five For Kids||$825,833|
Free Fruit for Kids
Nearly six out of ten Australians think children need to eat more fruit so we developed Free Fruit for Kids. Every week, we make 250,000 pieces (50,000 kg) of fruit available for children to eat in local stores across Australia.
Jamie’s Ministry of Food
Woolworths supports Jamie's Ministry of Food Australia by providing food provisions to four fixed kitchens and two mobile kitchens around Australia. Over 32,000 participants have taken part in the Jamie's Ministry of Food seven week course, learning how to cook healthy delicious meals using fresh produce.
IMAGE: Photo ©JustinField2014.
Grocery – Branded and Own Brand Shelf Keeping Units (SKUs)
Families of our Armed Services
Woolworths has partnered with Legacy, the Returned and Services League (RSL) and Camp Gallipoli to fundraise through stores and sponsor programs that support serving and ex-service Australian Defence Force personnel. During FY16 we raised more than $2.6 million.
During 2015/16 we invested more than $2.2 million in helping state Agricultural Societies across Australia to deliver Agricultural Shows in cities and towns. These shows connect our customers with the farmers who grow the food they buy in our supermarkets.
Foodbank Food Fight campaign
In August 2015, we supported our national food rescue partner Foodbank to run the Food Fight campaign, raising more than seven million serves of food. The campaign raises awareness of hunger in Australia and generates food for people in need through direct food donations.
FOODBANK HELPING TO FEED PEOPLE IN NEED
Woolworths’ partnership with FoodBank provides vital food relief to people like Trina, a single mum with five young children. She currently lives on benefits and finds it extremely challenging to keep her kids fed as well as meeting other day-to-day costs.
After being introduced to a Foodbank Community Foodshare, Trina and her family now have a regular supply of fresh and packaged food.
“I can make more nutritious meals for my children so they are eating better than they have in a while,” she says. “Being able to access this food helps me to support the kids in getting their education. I really just want to give them the best future I can.”
- Global Gap Aquaculture, Global Aquaculture Alliance Best Aquaculture Practices and Aquaculture Stewardship Council.
- “Fish and Seafood” in the Australian Sourced Table, includes seafood sourced from Australian waters but processed overseas.
- Trolley Trends Report 2016, McCrindle Research.
- Aztec ShopperView Data.