Coles Pays Fine For Displaying ‘Helping Australia Grow’ Sign Over Imported Fruits And Vegetables

Coles Pays Fine For Displaying ‘Helping Australia Grow’ Sign Over Imported Fruits And Vegetables

Supermarket giant Coles has fallen foul of the Australian Competition and Consumer Competition (ACCC) for the second time in a month. This time, it has paid a $61,200 fine after repeated examples of displaying imported fruits and vegetables under large ‘Helping Australia Grow’ signs.

The ACCC noted that in the five stores where it identified the behaviour between March and May this year, the produce itself did have its correct country of origin displayed. However, the ACC argued that the “relatively small sized stickers or statements were not sufficient to correct the overwhelming impression of the ‘Helping Australia Grow’ campaign imagery that was associated with the sale of the product”. Coles said the mistake happened because goods were being relocated within the store.

By paying the fine, Coles avoids a protracted legal battle. That seems less likely in its battle over bakery activity, which hits the courts in August.



  • Now let’s see the ACCC pull both the “big two” up on importing goods from over seas, instead of using Australian made and grown products. Don’t believe the nonsense about it being too expensive to use local either. They are upset because they didn’t make as big a mega profit as they did last year. It’s all about the share holders and profit and I do mean mega profit too.

    • What’s wrong with importing food from overseas? If I pay a lot less if I buy imports, then dammit I’m buying imports. They are not owned by the government “pull them up?” you’re trying to keep Australia strong and great by forcing companies to sell Australian only and your want to do that by slowly turning australia into a socialist state? Thousands of Australians own “the big two” in shares. if they dont make a huge profit they dont get money. your argument is bullshit…

      • If the bottom line is all you care about, then sure, imports cannot be beat
        It is hard to beat prison labour on price, so everyone has to drop their standards to match it and stay alive

        But the shareholders make a nice profit

        It is ridiculous that we have become a net food importer now
        When we lose our ability to become self sufficient, we’ve lost everything

        Expensive food or expensive medical bills

      • you seem to be dumb as a box of hair so i’ll explain it to you. if you send money overseas that means it doesn’t circulate in the australian economy. if you spend one dollar locally it will on average hit 7 other australian businesses before it heads overseas. you are literally passing on 7 dollars for every dollar you spend to australian businesses, building jobs and employment within your own country.

        However, this isn’t a big deal, do whatever you want with your money. the reason they got spanked is because they used marketing to lie. sure, sell overseas stuff, you can’t make it look like it’s australian though. Lying to the consumer means they don’t even get to make a good choice.

        • It is not the job of the ACCC to favour local production. It is the job of the ACCC to punish misleading conduct and to protect the consumer. The reason they got involved here is that Coles were implicitly misleading their customers into thinking that imported product was locally sourced. Actively favouring local product would not only be beyond its charter, it might well be in violation of international trade treaties.

          The flip side to “buy local” is that on a global basis, trade makes everybody better off. This is basic economic theory.

          Example: Say Australia can make 1kg of rice using 3 hours’ work and 1kg of coal using 2 hours’ work. China can make 1kg of rice in 5 hours and 1kg of coal in 8 hours. Notice here China is uniformly less efficient. If Australia spends its 10 hours of labor making nothing but coal (5kg coal) and China spends its twenty hours making nothing but rice (4kg) overall production is higher than if each country diversified (Australia 1kg rice + 2.5kg coal, China 2kg rice + 1.25kg coal, total 3kg rice & 4.5kg coal). Ideally, the value of the dollar vs. yuan adjusts to make it all even out. (In practice this doesn’t always happen – the $A was too high for a while – but that’s in the middle of correcting itself.)

          There are reasons not related to efficiency why some diversification in production is a good thing, and deterioration of product during transport means that the equation doesn’t always hold for perishables.

          But broadly speaking, international trade is basically a good thing, which is why there are treaties which attempt to keep things on an even footing.

    • timmahh, this article is about fresh produce, generally speaking produce is only purchased in counter seasonal e.g. a summer fruit during australias winter. This is an industry trend and the central/wholesale fruit markets (and there for the local green grocer and other smaller super markets) run produce from the same sourced product.

      • I agree, however there is a growing trend for both these outlets to source cheaper even when a local product is available. Add to that the sneaky way they brand their products to look like the competition and pretty soon the only products you will be able to buy will come from overseas because the local market can’t survive on the money offered and can’t export because the imports are cheaper. It may sound like the tin hat brigade but when all the farmers sell up, we’re in big trouble. The recent ABC show “The Checkout” covered some of the issues nicely.

  • Only $62,500? That’s nearly not enough for a company of this size, they’ll make that back in a couple of days easily.

  • This is a good outcome!

    The bigger issue that needs to be tackled is the “made from Australian and local ingredients”, where 0.01% of the ingredients are from Australia. This statement should be banned, or companies should be forced to list countries of origin, and percentages. I am VERY worried about Chinese ingredients after repeated melamine poisoning (year after year).

  • That should read “Made from Australian and Imported ingredients”. Oops!

  • Need bigger teeth.our farmers are dying ( then bought up by overseas companies to export) look at the big picture.its NOT a conspiracy theory.enjoy you’re shares

  • This an average lifehacker comments section when the article is about local food:
    “We should all buy australian and stop importing, free trade is bad and australian farmers are more important!”
    And then straight after, in any ‘prices are rising’ article:
    “This is stupid, we should just import to save money”.

    Every. Time.

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!