Woolworths Just Killed Off Its Entire Select Range

Woolworths Just Killed Off Its Entire Select Range

A few months ago, Woolworths decided to replace its entry-level Homebrand range with the similar “Woolworths Essentials” in a bid to address consumer perceptions of low quality. Now, it’s giving the same treatment to the mid-tier Select label. The only reason to care about this is that Woolworths’ private label products will soon be cheaper.

In the latest big change to its labeling strategy, Woolworths is killing off the Select sub-brand which originally debuted in 2005. In its place, Select products will soon carry a straightforward “Woolworths” label. The change will affect more than 1000 products.

According to SMH, this decision was made due to Select’s inability to compete on price and quality with private label products at rival supermarket chains Aldi and Coles. (According to Woolworth’s own research, consumers perceive the quality of Aldi’s private label brands to be “on par or better” than Select.)

From the customer side, the main change will be a swap to food products only. The newly christened range will also be cheaper, with Woolworths indicating it will be “more competitive” than Select. The existing Select range will be gradually phased out, with most products discontinued or re-branded by next financial year.

Personally, we’ve never really understood the grocery giants’ obsession with sub-branding. Usually, the ingredients, price and packaging material are more than enough to let you know what “tier” a home brand product belongs to. All this additional labeling isn’t really necessary.

[Via SMH]


  • I’d like to see them get rid of all their Woolies branded products altogether and stop trying to undercut the branded products and thus removing them from the shelves. The sooner they reel in this massive effort to make mega profits the better. That goes for all the other big business that run on the principle that you must outdo your mega profit from the previous financial year’s mega profit. The economy currently runs on the principle that you have to spend your money rather than save it. Sooner or later there will be another financial crisis and we’ll be the bunnies caught in the trap with no money in the bank as a buffer.

    • I like their branded products, because I’m too poor to afford the others. To you it might be undercutting, but to me it means I can afford to buy enough to feed myself.

      • Whilst I am sympathetic to your situation, everyone would benefit if these own branded products were banned, not just woolies but all the big name sellers. If they were the portal they should be, they would have many more brands competing for their customers, which would bring prices down to where they should be.

        • Ideally yes, but in practice the established brands would still command a usually absurd premium whilst finding more ways to screw us out of a few dollars, any competitors would then price their products accordingly inflated to maximise profit.

          Having said that 90% of woolies private label stuff tastes awful (such as their soft drink and cheese), i used to only get Woolies milk, but used to get pretty much any coles product as the quality was on par if not nicer than other brands.

          • I don’t mind their cheese, it’s just typical somewhat bland “cheese” flavour. But that makes it fine for sandwiches or grating a bit on top of something you’re cooking. But yeah their soft drink is terrible.

            I’d be happy with a single budget WW range. What I find annoying is when the stores try to hide the fact that it’s their brand by calling it “Farmers Choice” or “Green hills” or whatever stupid name they come up with. Just call it WW and don’t pretend it’s something it’s not.

            Oh, and stop flooding the shelves with shop brand and forcing out other products entirely. If I go to buy a named product and I can only buy shop brand I’m going to a different store. So that’s a lost sale.

    • Ok, so you are saying that we should be forced to pay top dollar for the likes of Heinz, Cold Power, Meadow Lea and the rest – mostly foreign owned – and not be offered a good quality cheaper alternative?
      Sounds like you will definitely have no money left in the bank.

      • I think you’re missing the point, but that’s not the only thing you seem to be missing, these companies are not your friends, they aren’t in business to make you happy, they are corporate giants that feed off the little guys.

    • Coles just took over our local independent Superbarn. The selection is goddamned appalling, at least 1/3 of the products are now Coles branded, and many of the awesome brands we used to buy are just gone.

  • Yeah, and Woolies are selling wide screen TV’s in their small stores, which block the aisles to their Asian Goods area, while I go on a sufari to find Thomi mustard.

  • The sneaky thing they’re doing now is bringing out Aldi-style private label brands with no indication they are a Woolworths product unless you read the back of the packet.
    Case in point – check out the ‘Bell Farms’ products in the freezer section.

    I wouldn’t have a problem with Woolworths stocking their own brands, if only they didn’t make it at the expense of other known brands. “Super”markets should, and used to, provide choice. If I wanted nothing but Aldi style private label junk, I’d be shopping there instead.

    • DavidS, on what basis do you class Aldi private label products as “junk”?
      Generally they are of the same quality as branded items and are made in Australia wherever they can be sourced at a good price and good quality.
      Most of your beloved branded products are foreign owned or shipped in from overseas, a perfect example being Heinz baked beans – an American company importing most of their canned foods from New Zealand.
      Aldi source much of their lines from mid-tier Australian manufacturers, for example their excellent laundry and cleaning products made by a family company, not Procter and Gamble or Unilever.
      You obviously have never set foot in Aldi.

      • I admit ‘junk’ might have been a bit harsh, but whenever I have tried their food products they were of (IMHO) a sub-par quality not to my liking. For the record I do sometimes go to Aldi and do use some of their cleaning products and toothpaste, purely for the fact they are made in Australia. I do actually seek out Australian made products over those that aren’t and avoid most Heinz products for that reason. I also am very wary of New Zealand made frozen veges in particular because they have been known to be have been sourced from China.
        Anyway my main point was that supermarkets should be providing choice and they increasingly aren’t. Along with using sneaky tactics such as my Bell Farms example to try pull the wool over the eyes of the bulk of consumers who aren’t reading the back of the packaging of things they buy.

        • Fair points. However house brands actually can offer an opportunity for our smaller manufacturers to get into supermarkets under the big multinationals, as you have found yourself with the cleaning products and toothpaste. For example SPC and Ardmona do a lot of Aldi’s lines such as their Australian canned tomatoes, apple sauce, mustards etc.
          Woolies – who own the “Macro” brand probably source their oats, cereals etc locally.
          Macro is a quite comprehensive range of “health” foods, very well displayed that has better sales than the fragmented and confusing range of bits and pieces normally found in the health food aisle.
          So in this case, house branding actually improving convenience and quality for customers. My partner’s nephew is a grocery manager in Dubbo and says that Macro has been a huge success.

  • I hope that doesn’t mean they get rid of those delicious salted caramel cheesecakes. I buy things depending on whether they have the features I want, not really by cost ( I mean if it’s ridiculously priced I tend not to) or what the ‘brand’ is or isn’t. If I like something, I’m usually not willing to switch to another brand that sells the same thing as they’re never the same. I’d rather pay a little more to get what I want then save a couple of cents on a sub par product

    • Another problem with the house brand is their quality tends to drop over time. WW used to make a series of in house microwave meals that were things like New York Steak, Slow cooked Lamb Shanks and a few others. When they were released they were terrific, not quite restaurant quality but far better than your standard microwave meal. After about three months though the quality plummeted and never improved again.

      I’ve noticed the same thing with a number of their other products like cookies, tissues, TP and a few other things. It’s like a high quality bait that gets you hooked and once you are they cut quality to cut costs.

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