IN THE week after the host of the Project Waleed Aly explained the dire consequences price cuts by dairy giants Murray Goulburn and Fonterra were having on producers Australians appear to have snubbed cut-price milk.

"For every litre of milk we buy in the supermarket it costs a farmer about 38 cents a litre to make it and they're paid just 42 cents," Mr Aly said on Channel last week.

"That was until three weeks ago when Australia's largest dairy producer and the world's biggest dairy exporter both slashed what they were willing to pay.

"On the 27th of April Murray Gouldburn announced it was cutting its prices...a week later on the 5th of May Fonterra followed suit."

As Mr Aly explained this means many producers will be paid about 37 cents a litre - pushing prices below the cost of production and making many dairy farms unprofitable.

And the situation is worsened by the fact the dairy giants are attempting to make the price cuts retrospective and saddle farmers with massive debts. 

He ended by urging Australians to stop buying Coles and Woolworths branded milk and instead pay a little extra to purchase Australian produced, brand named milk. 

Days later Facebook began lighting up with images of supermarket shelves showing the Coles and Woolworths milk had not been touched. 

 

Woolworths in Emerald posted by Emma Worth on Facebook
Woolworths in Emerald posted by Emma Worth on Facebook

 

And from Emerald to South Yarra, Darwin to Tasmania and Grafton to Gladstone - indeed all over the country -Australians started posting photos showing the no-name milk had been left untouched while the branded milk had all been bought. 

 

Photo facebook Caroline McIntyre at Woolworths in South Yarra
Photo facebook Caroline McIntyre at Woolworths in South Yarra

 

At the same time a Facebook group called Dairy Farmers Need Your Help Please  has grown to a membership of more than 50,000 people and has released a guide of which milk consumers should and shouldn't buy if they want to assist producers. 

 

Which milk will help producers according to Dairy Farmers Need Your Help please
Which milk will help producers according to Dairy Farmers Need Your Help please

However today Woolworths and Coles denied they stopped putting brand named milk on supermarket shelves in an effort to force people to buy their brand. 

Woolworths was asked if consumers had stopped buying its milk, if it would consider increasing prices and handing the extra profits back to producers and whether or not the named brands were still being put out for sale. 

"We are stocking proprietary and own brand milk in the same way this week as we have done in previous weeks," a spokesman said,

"We always aim to have our shelves stocked with the products our customers want to buy. 

"Woolworths has always maintained a significant range of milk brands reflecting our customers desire for choice and will continue to do so."

Coles was asked the same questions and pointed to an industry fund it was setting up. 

"Coles has not made any changes to the way we replenish our milk range," a spokesman said.

Our goal is to provide our customers with choice at prices they can trust. That's why we sell a number of brands of milk across Australia.

Coles is in discussion with a number of farmer organisations about the launch of a new milk brand which is proposed to return an additional 20 cents per litre to an industry fund.

We are kicking this proposal off with a commitment of one million dollars from Coles to benefit farmers.  We hope to have the new milk brand on shelves in around 12 weeks."



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