The price of bread in supermarkets is the lowest it has been for years, with Coles and Woolworths discounting the cost of a 650g store-brand loaf to just 85-cents.
Woolworths set the trend, cutting the cost of its Homebrand white bread in September, closely followed by Coles, which dropped the price of its Smart Buy white bread a day later.
Baking Association of Australia executive officer Tony Smith said the cheap cost of supermarket bread came at a cost to Australian bakeries.
“Basically it’s a disgrace. All they’re doing is bastardising the industry. Bakers can’t make a loaf for under $1.50,” he said.
“It puts the local baker out of business and people out of jobs. Small business doesn’t need this at the moment.
“It will affect bakeries all across the country. After the introduction of $1 bread, for instance, there’s now three bakers in Bathurst who only make pies and cakes.”
Coles communications manager Jasmine Zwiebel, however, said there had not been any supply problems with the discounted Smart Buy bread.
“Bread is a staple in Australian households and will always be a popular item on the shopping list. Therefore, we will continue to ensure we have the quantities required to meet customer demand,” she said, as reported by Farm Weekly.
Neither Coles nor Woolworths have given a date for the last time they traded bread at this price.
Independent Senator Nick Xenophon said he will move to reinstate a part of the competition law that prevented companies from charging different prices to different companies for the same product or service.
[The] latest discounting gimmick of 85c loaves of bread might seem appealing to consumers, but in the long run it will cripple independent supermarkets who can’t access bread at that price from suppliers,” Senator Xenophon said in a statement.
Senator Xenophon said both consumers and independent companies would suffer under Australia’s current competition laws.
“When independents are pushed out of business that hurts competition and consumers too,” he said.
“Prohibiting this sort of price discrimination will level the playing field once and for all.”