Coles CMO defends supplier stance as farmer stoush escalates

Coles CMO defends supplier stance as farmer stoush escalates

The CMO of Coles has defended the supermarket’s role at the centre of an escalating row with farmers over damaged caused by the continued sales of cheap fresh produce. 

It comes after Coles refused to be drawn on whether the supermarket giant will withdraw from selling shopping bags supporting animal rights group Animals Australia.

Coles sparked fury among farming groups after it agreed to sell fundraising shopping bags with the slogan "we believe in a world without factory farming" at 500 supermarkets nationwide.

The National Farmers' Federation has written to Coles chief executive Ian McLeod expressing concern about Coles support for Animals Australia, stating that the animal rights group’s agenda is causing "serious harm to many parts of animal agriculture in this country”.

Simon McDowell, CMO at Coles, has defended the supermarket’s role at the centre of the growing stoush with farmers.

McDowell instead insisited that Coles main aim is to provide food to Australian familes at the lowest price possible.

“At the end of the day we have to look after our customers and their families,” McDowell said this morning at Mumbrella360.

“The cost of living is going up, it’s not easy for struggling families, so we’re going to reduce prices of things that matter to them.”

McDowell believes that the more customers buying fresh food at Coles can only be good for its suppliers. “It’s good for everyone,” he said.

“You can’t take prices up just because you can, it doesn’t work and is not fair to Australian families. All of price discounts you see on fresh food, on milk etc, it’s all funded by Coles. Our view is the more customers that buy milk the better  it is for all families in Australia.”

Meanwhile, McDowell dismissed that Status Quo is no longer part of Coles plans now that One Direction has be signed to front its latest ad campaign.

McDowell confirmed to to B&T that Status Quo still has a big role to play in Coles advertising in the future.

He hailed the recruitment of One Direction as taking a big chance, adding that not nearly enough brands are doing similar in Australia. The first One Direction Coles ad will air during State of Origin tonight.

McDowell also refused to rule out using Dawn French again for its Flybuys rewards scheme, and added that while selling the data obtained from Flybuys to other other brands and businesses “is not part of plan” right now, he didn’t rule out that changing in the future either.

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