The Australian Federal Court has found processors and suppliers of Steggles branded chicken products, engaged in “false, misleading and deceptive conduct” in describing on product packaging and in advertising that its meat chickens were ‘free to roam’ in large barns when this was not the case.
The Australian Chicken Meat Foundation Inc (ACMF), the peak industry body for Australia’s chicken meat industry, was also found to have engaged in “false, misleading and deceptive conduct”, by claiming on its website that chickens…
THE consumer watchdog has filed legal proceedings against Coles for allegedly misleading customers with claims that bread was “freshly baked in-store”, after former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett urged the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission to take action against the supermarket giant.
Mr Kennett last year sent a box of Coles’ Irish-made Cuisine Royale bread and muffins to the ACCC, claiming Coles was conning customers and calling for the ACCC to examine the bread’s labels that say “baked today, sold today”…
Kmart and Target have become the first Australian retailers to sign up to a safety accord in a bid to improve conditions for Bangladeshi garment workers.
More than 40 global brands have signed up to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety after more than 1,000 Bangladeshi garment workers died when the Rana Plaza building collapsed in April.
The accord allows staff to refuse to work in dangerous buildings and mandates independent building inspections.
Target Australia managing director Stuart Machin says company representatives…
The “recycling wars” between Coca-Cola and Greenpeace have spilt into cyberspace, with the beverage giant buying the top advertising slot for searches of the environmental group’s name.
The battle for internet attention follows claims by Greenpeace that free-to-air television channels 7, 9, 10 and SBS had all declined to broadcast the group’s anti-Coca-Cola, pro-recycling ad.
“Pretty much everywhere we’ve gone, advertising space has been blocked,” James Lorenz, communications manager for Greenpeace, said. “Our assumption is that it’s the advertising pressure from Coke.”
A new certification body for genetically modified organism free (GMO-free) foods has been launched in Australia.
GMO-ID Australia, a subsidiary of accreditation body HACCP International Pty Ltd, which has specialised in product certification for the food industry since 1998, will use the ‘Cert ID Non GMO’ (Cert ID) certification system in Australia and the Pacific region.
The Cert ID system will offer a range of third party certification schemes aimed at the food industry, including farmers and growers through to manufacturers, suppliers,…
Urban beekeepers are demanding retailer Bunnings Warehouse remove all products containing the pesticide neonicotinoids, following the European Union’s decision to ban it a fortnight ago.
More than 16,000 people have signed an online petition calling on the hardware chain to pull popular Yates-brand pesticides off its shelves.
One brand sold by Bunnings – Yates’ Confidor Hose-On Lawn pesticide – carries the warning it ”will kill bees”.
Melbourne chairman of the Victorian Apiarists’ Association, Bernie Heinze, said research linked neonicotinoids with colony collapse disorder…
Some of Australia’s biggest retailers are facing threats of a consumer boycott after failing to sign an international agreement to improve fire safety and working conditions in Bangladesh, following the country’s worst industrial accident.
Woolworths and Kmart – which have factories operating in Bangladesh – have declined to sign the legally binding agreement that compels retailers operating in Bangladesh to improve conditions and pay for factory repairs and fire safety by this week’s deadline.
Clothing retailer Cotton On said it would decide…
South Australian pickles and preserves company Spring Gully Foods has experienced an massive turnaround in sales after the company’s financial struggles became public. Support from shoppers had boosted Spring Gully’s turnover to $1.5 million last week, in a turnaround that the company’s administrator has dubbed “extraordinary”.Managing director Kevin Webb made a heartfelt plea via the media for South Australians to support his company, a call that seems to have been successful. [source]
Speculation of a Mondelez / PepsiCo merger is in the news again with US billionaire Nelson Peltz acquiring stakes in both companies worth $2.7b. Peltz’s influence was key in the spinoff of Dr Pepper Snapple Group from Cadbury, Kraft’s purchase of Cadbury, and the subsequent breakup of Kraft into Mondelez and Kraft Foods Group Inc. He is also a board member at HJ Heinz, which just agreed to be bought by 3G Capital and Berkshire Hathaway. [source]
After a few teething problems with our online shop we have finally got all the wrinkles out of our postage calculations. Apologies to those who paid a little more postage than usual, and to anybody who was put off by excessive postage charges. Please come back – all is good now! Online shop
Oxfam’s new Behind the Brands Scorecard assesses the agricultural sourcing policies of the world’s 10 largest food and beverage companies. It exclusively focuses on publicly available information that relates to the policies of these companies on their sourcing of agricultural commodities from developing countries. Seven companies in our database now have shiny new criticisms, including General Mills, Kellogg’s and Mars.
Nestlé has become the first major chocolate manufacturer in Australia to source all the cocoa for its retail confectionery business from UTZ certified farms. This ensures the cocoa is sourced and produced sustainably on farms with safe working conditions [source]. However unlike Fairtrade certification, UTZ does not offer a minimum or guaranteed price, and the environmental standards of UTZ Certified are far weaker than those of either Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance [source].
After three years of research and countless requests, the Clothing edition of the Shop Ethical! Guide is here at last. Find out about the issues, the products and the companies behind the major fashion and clothing brands. Search our directory for buying organic, fair-trade, second-hand, vegan or locally sourced clothes and footwear. [source]
Global food giant, H. J. Heinz, has agreed to be bought by private equity firms Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital for $28bn. The deal is pending approval by the company’s shareholders. Heinz bought Golden Circle in 2008. [source]
Greenpeace has welcomed Asia Pulp & Paper’s new commitment to end deforestation in Indonesia’s rainforests. The announcement comes after a decade of public pressure from Indonesian and international NGOs. During this time many global companies including Adidas, Kraft, Mattel, Hasbro, Nestlé, and Unilever suspended contracts with APP and introduced policies removing deforestation from their supply chains. Greenpeace and other NGOs will continue to monitor APP’s progress. [source]
McCain Foods has acquired Sara Lee’s bakery business in Australia and New Zealand for $82 million from US-based Hillshire Brands. The acquisition will expand McCain’s frozen foods offerings, and includes Sara Lee’s manufacturing facility at Lisarow, NSW, as well as license rights to the Sara Lee brand. [source]
In Nov 2012 Metcash bought its first pub, joining Coles and Woolworths in the poker machine business for the first time. Metcash now own 50% of the Queen’s Arms in Brisbane, with more pub purchases expected to follow. [source]
Australian cheesemaker Jindi has been sold to French dairy giant Lactalis in a deal worth about $20 million. Jindi was sold to Lactalis by Menora Foods, who bought the cheese brand in 2005 and will continue to distribute the brand in Australia. [source]
The new edition of our popular print guide is here. ‘The Guide to Ethical Supermarket Shopping’ is completely revised and updated, with the new branding of ‘Shop Ethical!’. This new edition includes new company ownership charts, improved categorisation, new blurbs, and lots of tips for shopping beyond the supermarket. [source]
Several companies including Popina, Vesco, Gruma Oceania and Gage Roads have recently become signatories to the Australian Packaging Covenant, resulting in their rating changing from a ~ to a light tick. [source]
Little World Beverages, owner of Little Creatures brewery, became a wholly owned subsidiary of Lion (owned by Kirin) in Sept 2012 after shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favour of the takeover. Lion already held a 36 per cent stake in the company, leaving a shortfall of AU$256M to complete the takeover. [source]
Darrell Lea, which was placed into voluntary administration in July 2012, has been bought by the Quinn family, who also own V.I.P. Petfoods. Under the restructure, the remaining 27 Darrell Lea company-owned stores will cease trading on Sun 9 Sept, resulting in the loss 418 jobs. Manufacturing will remain in Australia. Hopefully the Quinn family will start doing what the Lea family never did – introduce a Fairtrade Certified line of chocolates. [source]
Metcash, which operates the IGA supermarket chain, is reportedly considering buying some pubs and poker machines and joining Coles and Woolworths in the pokies business. The move follows a strategic review and a $375m equity raising venture, part of which is being used to fund the recent acquisition of 75% of Autobarn operator Automotive Brands Group, and the purchase of the 49.9% of Mitre 10 it doesn’t already own. [source]
Panadol maker GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to pay US$3 billion in fines for marketing drugs for unauthorised uses, holding back safety data, and cheating the US government’s Medicaid program. GSK targeted the antidepressant Paxil to patients under age 18 when it was approved for adults only, and pushed the drug Wellbutrin for uses it was not approved for, including weight loss and treatment of sexual dysfunction. [source]
(FOREIGN >> AUST) Nestle is selling its Peter’s ice cream business to Australian-based private equity group, Pacific Equity Partners, who will also acquire the long-term licence to market and sell in Australia global Nestle ice cream brands, including Drumstick, Heaven, Maxibon, Skinny Cow and Milo Scoop Shake. [source]
In June 2012 Procter & Gamble completed the sale of its snacks unit, which included the iconic potato snack Pringles, to the world’s largest cereal maker Kellogg for US$2.7 billion. The deal included manufacturing plants at Jackson, Tennessee, and Mechelen, Belgium. [source]
Sara Lee Corporation was renamed Hillshire Brands Company after spinning off its international coffee and tea business in June 2012. Sara Lee Australia’s coffee and tea operations are now part of D.E Master Blenders 1753, and the bakery division is part of Hillshire Brands. [source]
The Tasmanian Government has announced it will phase out cage egg production, and speed up the phase out of sow stalls at piggeries (from 2017 to mid-2013). No new cage egg farms will be allowed in the State, and a range of actions will be explored in a bid to increase non-cage egg production and phase out battery hen operations. The European Union banned battery hens at the start of this year. [source]
The Centre for Food Safety’s True Food Shopper’s Guide (USA) reveals which companies are using, or not using, genetically engineered ingredients in their US products. We have used this as a new assessment source in much the same way as we use the Greenpeace True Food Guide for Australian companies. [source]
The world’s largest palm oil trading company, Wilmar International, yesterday increased it’s stake in Goodman Fielder to 10.1%, and is rumoured to be seeking a full takeover. Goodman, the owner of brands including White Wings, Helga’s, Meadow Lea and Praise, is Australiasia’s largest listed food company. Wilmar bought CSR Sugar in Dec 2010. [source]
Primo Smallgoods is now foriegn owned after Hong Kong-based private equity firm, Affinity Equity Partners, bought a 70% stake in Oct 2011. Primo’s founders, the Lederer family, still own the remaining 30%. [source]
The WWF Palm Oil Buyers’ Scorecard 2011 was released in Nov 2011 (as our book was being printed). This report measures if major retailers and consumer goods manufacturers are acting responsibly in terms of palm oil use and sourcing. This has changed the rating for Lactalis (owners of Parmalat), L’Occitane, Snack Brands Australia and Peerless to a ‘cross’. [source]
Woolworths’ hospitality arm ALH Group has signed long-term leases and acquired the businesses and associated assets of 31 hotels and one detached bottleshop in NSW for $500 million from the Laundy, Waugh and De Angelis groups. The deal also strengthens Woolworths’ position as the country’s biggest owner-operator of poker machines, lifting the number of machines under its control to 13,480. [source]
Foster’s shareholders voted on 1 Dec 2011, over 99% in favour, to end 100 years of Australian ownership when they approved the sale of the company the world’s second largest brewer, SABMiller. Brewing operation are to remain in Australia. SABMiller will also acquire the remaining 50 per cent of Pacific Beverages owned by Coca-Cola Amatil. All of Australia’s major breweries except Coopers are now foreign owned. [source]
The 2012 edition of the Guide to Ethical Supermarket Shopping will be released in mid-November with special features on Beauty, Toys, Meat and Beer. In anticipation, we have substantially reduced the prices on the 2011 edition. We are also taking pre-orders for the 2012 edition. Our SHOP page has plenty of other goodies to help you match your purchases with your values too. Start your Christmas shopping early. [source]
Hong Kong-based private equity firm Affinity Equity Partners bought a 70% stake of Australia’s Primo Smallgoods in Oct 2011, with Primo’s founders, the Lederer family, holding the remaining 30%. [source]
Australian Marine Conservation Society have launched Australia’s first ever Sustainable Seafood Guide iPhone App. If you don’t have an iPhone, the guide is also available online or you can buy a hard copy guide from our online store. [source]
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is alleging barn-raised chickens are not ”free to roam” and has launched Federal Court action against Baiada Poultry and Bartter Enterprises (one company), which supply chickens under the Steggles brand. Steggles is a major supplier to fast-food giant KFC. [source]
Independents Bob Katter and Nick Xenophon will introduce a bill to Federal Parliament calling for retailers to display the prices they pay farmers for their fresh produce next to the price they’re asking from customers. In some cases products like citrus have a mark-up of 1,000 per cent. They say Coles and Woolworths need to explain the large price disparity between farm gate prices and retail prices of produce. [source]