Rising price of instant coffee a bitter blend

The cost of a morning brew came under fire in parliament as it was revealed a tin of coffee has almost doubled in price within a year at some major supermarkets.

Labor MP Steve Georganas lifted the lid on the price hike of Nescafe-branded coffee during a debate over price gouging on Monday.

“A popular brand that we all know, the tin was retailing at these outlets for approximately $14 to $16 just 12 months ago,” he told federal parliament.

A 500g tin of Nescafe Blend 43 retails for $26 at Coles and Woolworths.

There are several inquiries afoot into the major supermarkets, including one from the consumer and competition watchdog.

As debate on the cost of living raged inside the chamber, some federal MPs were attending a cooking class in the parliamentary kitchen.

The event was organised by charity group OzHarvest, which rescues food for people in need, as part of ongoing efforts to raise awareness of the negative implications of food waste.

The educational theme seemed to echo into the chamber as independent MP Russell Broadbent recalled a conversation with one customer whose weekly supermarket shop cost about $275.

He told parliament the woman switched to Aldi after getting fed up with increasing costs at Coles and Woolworths.

Mr Broadbent said he was concerned progress toward increased competition was too slow, when the market was moving quickly every day.

“By the time an inquiry is held, the damage is done. It’s all over, it’s finished,” he said.

More than 60 per cent of the food retail market is dominated by the two major supermarkets, with Woolworths holding a 37 per cent share and Coles controlling 28 per cent.

Independent MP Andrew Gee said a lack of action on supermarket price gouging boiled down to “hot air and porkies”.

“We want the major parties to back up their words with deeds,” he said.

“Stop just talking the talk and start walking the walk.”

A recent parliamentary hearing into the supermarkets heard from affected farmers who were having their produce rejected because of strict requirements on appearance.

“Some of their produce – which is perfect to eat – is rejected because it’s slightly the wrong colour for heaven’s sake,” Mr Gee said.

“So 30 per cent of this beautiful product here in Australia is thrown out or sent back to the grower just to be to be ploughed in or thrown down the chip.”


Belad Al-karkhey
(Australian Associated Press)


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