Coles makes big move on price rises

A major supermarket in Australia is changing the way it handles price increases due to rising inflation.

Coles will alter the way it handles supplier requests for price increases amid rising inflation.

Food and Grocery Code of Conduct independent reviewer Chris Leptos met with Australia’s major supermarkets earlier this month to discuss suppliers’ concerns.

Grocery suppliers have seen rising costs since the emergence of Covid-19. This situation has continued to worsen during the Russian war in Ukraine.

Coles chief executive Steven Cain revealed at The Australian’s Global Food Forum that the number of grocery suppliers petitioning for price rises was up five times compared to last year.

Mr Cain wrote to Mr Leptos following a recent review of all supermarket performances under the industry’s Food and Grocery Code of Conduct, according to a report by The Australian.

To combat inappropriate and harmful behavior by major supermarkets towards suppliers, the Code of Conduct was created in 2015.

“Coles is also in the process of reviewing its cost price increase process to identify ways to improve this process for suppliers,” Mr Cain said in his letter.

He said that Coles’ chief executive of commercial and express, Leah Weckert, would meet with suppliers over coming months and develop a culture where issues can be raised directly at a senior level.

Coles has now agreed that its independent arbiter Jeff Kennett (former Victorian premier) will have a greater role when it comes to supplier complaints.

The new process will clarify the confidentiality process for investigations as well as the role of the independent reviewer.

“As part of this review, we will work on ways to ensure that our suppliers understand that any confidential information provided during this process is provided voluntarily and with appropriate safeguards in place,” Mr Cain wrote.

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