Woolworths CEO proposes to use pick date instead of pack date for supermarket products

By @mik_mapa on
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A shopper walks out of a Woolworths store in Sydney, Australia, May 12, 2016. Reuters/David Gray

Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci has responded to health-conscious shoppers' demand for a  greater transparency around their food. He said that supermarkets should change pack date to pick date to make sure shoppers would always have the best quality produce. He said that he has always been keen to know the pick date to make sure that the store has the best sell buy date.

Banducci said that his company was listening to calls for more transparency around tracking fresh food. He said that they were working to make it easier for vegans and gluten-free customers to find the food they needed within the supermarket.  He admitted that it was very hard to navigate their store and effectively choose the right products from vegan or coeliac customers. The supermarket's chief believed that transparency was needed as people want to know where the supplies came from and how the produce was grown. Customers were also asking if the produce were gluten-free, lactose-free or sugar-free.

The big supermarket retailer chief said that there was an increased focus on health and wellness among Woolworths shoppers. In its new store in Warringah, Sydney, the health food range increase by 35 percent underpinning a 45 percent lift in sales.

Organic food affordability was also considered by the supermarket retailer. Banducci said that it should be made cheaper as more than 60 percent of the supermarket's shopper prefer to eat organic food. However, they said that they could not afford it.

However, the growing demand for fresh food means more chilled space for the supermarket. Banducci said that it added up to the supermarket's power demand. He warned that such surge in electricity price would set to hit shoppers. But he noted that the company was doing its best to introduce electricity efficiency measures despite its electricity bill that cost $360 million per year. The electricity bill was the supermarket's third largest cost item after wages and rent. 

“We will see those cost increases coming through and we will have to in some way, very cautiously and carefully, have to pass those through on to our customers unfortunately,” Banducci told The Australian. He said that they were managing what they can manage but he was not sure if they could do it. He said that they were trying to outrun a bear at the moment.

Selling of good food was one of the priorities of the supermarket retail. The supermarket chief said that the model it wanted to follow was the Kroger supermarket chain. The US supermarket chain has an in-house brand called Simple Truth that has  gone from zero to $US2 billion in sales in less than four years.

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