Woolworths dumps SPC tinned tomatoes contract

THE future of hundreds of jobs and farms in the Goulburn Valley is in further doubt after SPC Ardmona lost a major supermarket contract.
Woolworths announced late today it was dumping its “goodwill” deal with SPC — made just two years ago — to source its own-brand line of tinned tomatoes.
The retailer was today placed under fierce political pressure to honour a five-year $70 million deal with the Shepparton-based food processor, after the Herald Sun revealed that it was considering walking away from the contract.

Woolworths has confirmed it has dumped its deal with SPC for tinned tomatoes. Picture: Mark Stewart
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce both took aim at the food and grocery giant today, saying the public expected companies like Woolworths to buy local produce and support “the jobs that come, the prosperity, the economic activity that comes from SPC”.
Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford told Parliament Woolworths should feel a “great responsibility” to the Goulburn Valley, the growers and suppliers of SPC and the hundreds of workers on the factory floor.
“The Government will certainly do whatever is required to ensure a strong future for a company that is so important to such an important region in our state,” Ms Pulford said.

Woolworths has confirmed it has dumped its deal with SPC for tinned tomatoes. Picture: Mark Stewart

SPC underpins about 2000 jobs in the Goulburn Valley from the factory to farmers and casual positions such as fruitpickers and truck drivers.
Greater Shepparton council chief executive Peter Harriott said Woolworths needed to show leadership in its support of the company and growers following its five-year agreement in 2014.
“Council and the Greater Shepparton community have rallied behind SPC in the past and will continue to support SPC as an important asset to our economy and our community as a whole,” Mr Harriott said.
But the future profitability of SPC, which received $22 million from the Victorian Government as part of a $190 million factory upgrade two years ago, now hinges on negotiating a new deal on canned fruit with the supermarket chain.
Woolworths head of buying Stephen Donohue said he expected discussions covering pricing and volumes of canned fruit to end “positively” this week. But he confirmed it would switch to another supplier for its private-label tinned tomato line.
STRUGGLING farmers have been thrown into turmoil as supermarket giant Woolworths reviews its rescue deal with SPC.

Farming families, who are hardly breaking even, have ripped up generations-old trees as they anticipate a blow.

Shepparton fruit grower Gary Godwill, 61, who featured on an SPC can recently, would be forced to rip out his entire orchard if SPC went out of business. Picture: Mark Stewart

“The supermarkets simply want it cheaper but that means we’re stitched up, we’re finished, it’s unsustainable,” fourth-generation peach farmer Gary Godwill said.
It’s been estimated up to 5000 jobs could be lost in the state’s north, between the cannery, farmers and suppliers, if the century-old fruit packers goes under.
“If they don’t (work it out) it could lead to a close-down,” Greater Shepparton councillor Dinny Adem said.

Gary Godwill, 61, with mother Dorothy, 87. Picture: Mark Stewart

The Herald Sun understands an emergency meeting was held at SPC yesterday where the few staff working were reassured the factory was undergoing maintenance before the season’s peak.
Mr Godwill said farmers were “quite depressed” because “most of us at best break even, some of us are going broke”.
“I’m sick of working seven days a week and making nothing,” the 61-year-old said.
If SPC goes out of business, Mr Godwill said he would have no choice but to rip up his 20ha orchard.

Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/woolworths-confirms-dumping-spc-ardmona-tinned-tomatoes-deal/news-story/f8fa0fcafe608e10590841dbe68f2e75

13 Comments Add yours

  1. Garry Mackay says:

    Every body needs to stop shopping at woolworths


  2. Suzanne O'Connell says:

    This is so wrong. These companies want our money but they don’t want to support our Australian companies. It’s about time the Australian people got of their arses and stand up to these companies letting them know that if they don’t support any of our producers, then we will not be buying the cheap shit they are trying to force us to buy while they continue to make huge profits. I will be contacting Woolworths and Coles and letting them know my feelings on this subject.


  3. Julie says:

    I think it’s disgusting ,you should be supporting,our farmers not sending them broke , I will be boycotting Woolworths if you go ahead with this decision


  4. Lesley says:

    Do it… I leave Woolworths.


  5. Eric Pickering says:

    Check where Coles and Aldi tomatoes come from they come from Italy and China


  6. Rena says:

    Bloody disgraceful. Won’t be doing major shopping there any more


  7. Mikaela says:

    Woolworths / Coles both single handedly will destroy, generations of small business, farmers and families alike. People & communities need to wake up to themselves, as these giants dominate the market, put people out of business and monopolise the market.
    It might be a little bit cheaper at the checkout but consider this, “buy your sausages at the local butcher, buy your chicken at the local chicken shop, buy your fruit n veg at the local veggie shop, buy your bread at the bakery, do what you can to support your local community, because if you don’t, the only shop you will have left will be Woolworths & Coles. Local farmers, businesses & stores will stop employing local people and they will stop contributing sponsorship, vouchers, & support to your local football club, league, associations, clubs etc! What do you say to your child when they no longer receive a voucher for their best player achievement because the local business stopped donating them!
    Wake up to yourselves, these companies are selling products for cheaper than small business can buy them, eventually they will shut them down, and we will have ghost towns!


  8. Trish says:

    Its so typical and ongoing. Major food chains with the monopoly on foods and choosing overseas suppliers to further enhance profit margins.
    Woolworths are no worse then coles etc for this behaviour…


  9. I am boycotting Woolworth’s. The only thing I was buying is my milk. I will go elsewhere.


  10. Christine Ball says:

    Shame on you Woolworths, over the last 3 years I’ve been an avid Woolies shopper but when you continue to do this sort of thing it makes me very angry


  11. Carole Morrison says:

    Hi Christine ! I have been an avid Woolies shopper for almost 50 years and Im bloody well disgusted with them and their disgraceful way of their “so called ” taking care of their shoppers! It is so unbelievable that they think they can get away with all their bulldust advertising rubbish. They need to pull their bloody heads in and JUST FOR ONCE give us shoppers some respect!


  12. Kathryn Joy says:

    Iwill boycott Woolworths if they do not honour their deal with SPC


  13. Sue says:

    If Woolworths were savvy, they would make advertise all Australian products. I am sure that the majority of customers, would pay a little extra for Aussie made and manufactured.. They are already behind Coles in gross revenue. If they cancel these contracts, they will lose more customers.


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