Coles is being investigated for alleged misleading claims relating to its “baked today, sold today” bread.
the australian Competition and Consumer Commission (aCCC) has begun proceedings in the Federal Court against Coles Supermarkets for the supply of bread that is partially baked off-site and only “finished” in-store.
the aCCC alleges labels on par-baked products and nearby prominent signs stating “freshly baked” or “baked fresh” were misleading for consumers. Furthermore, aCCC chairman Rod Sims told News Limited the supermarket brand’s store baked breads tended to be limited to plain products.
“Quite a number of artisan-type breads and things like sourdough bread, sourdough baguette, turkish bread, sunflower triangles, stone-baked light rye, all those are par-baked,” Mr Sims said, as reported by News Limited.
the aCCC is concerned the misleading claims could disadvantage competing bakery retailers that sell freshly baked products.the legal action follows a year-long investigation triggered by former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett.
Mr Sims said the aCCC started investigating how widespread the problem was after being alerted by Mr Kennett.
“What we found was that this [freshly-baked bread] was an important part of the way Coles was positioning themselves, and when big companies try position themselves in a certain was they have a bigger onus to make it right,” he said, as reported by The Guardian.
“We had a complaint from a person in Queensland who said the bread they bought was still cold or frozen in the middle, which is indicative of the fact it was baked, frozen and hadn’t been finished.”
the supermarket giant faces potential fines of up to $1.1 million if found guilty.