Coles have finally responded to Woolworth’s announcement yesterday that they were ditching $1/litre milk. 

In face of continuous claims from farmers that cheap milk was unsustainable, the supermarket giant have raised their Woolworths-brand milk by 10c/litre. 

Farmers, they insist, will receive “every cent” of the price hike.

In response, rival Coles have made the surprising decision to not follow suit.

A spokesperson said Coles would not take any further action but would match donations to farmers at their registers from February 25. 

Farming bodies however, have said they don’t want handouts and need a more sustainable model to stop sending farmers broke.

Coles’ full statement is below…

“Coles is passionate about supporting our farmers and producers and in the past six months has committed $16 million to support this important industry. This includes contributing around $4 million to almost 640 dairy farmers through the Coles Dairy Drought Relief Fund and more than $7 million in partnership with the Country Women’s Association, resulting in over 2,300 additional grants for drought-affected farmers.

Coles has been exploring additional options in relation to how to best support Australia’s hard working farmers, including how we ensure that drought assistance initiatives are as efficient and effective as possible. At the moment, there are a variety of different models being adopted by retailers and producers.

Coles is committed to finding a better model that can be adopted by the industry to assist Australian farmers, and intends to liaise with relevant parties including government and the ACCC.

In the meantime, Coles will continue to look at ways to support Australian farmers, including by collecting customer donations at our supermarket registers nationally from Monday 25 February, until further notice. Coles will match these donations dollar for dollar.

Coles also knows that many customers in Australia face cost of living pressures and doesn’t want them to be disadvantaged through price increases. We also note that the ACCC has previously examined the Australian dairy industry and concluded that house brand milk pricing does not negatively impact farmgate milk prices.

Coles is seeking a long-term solution that does not disadvantage our customers and supports our dairy farmers.”