Woolworths Organic Growth Fund has awarded $1 million in grants and interest-free loans to four organic farms across Australia. The funding enables the producers to upgrade production systems and develop expansion plans, ensuring that they remain sustainable into the future.
The four recipients in this second funding round are Gingin Organics, N&A Group, Biofarms Australia and Pairingi Farms, which grow a wide range of fruit and vegetable varieties in Western Australia, New South Wales and Tasmania. The $30 million Fund was established in 2018, and has committed to a five-year partnership with Heritage Bank to help Australian growers meet the increasing consumer demand for organic fruit and vegetables.
Woolworths Head of Produce, Paul Turner, said, “We’re seeing double digit growth in customer demand for organic fruit and vegetables, and believe the trend will only continue over coming years. We’re particularly interested in working with conventional growers who are looking to diversify crops and convert to organic production.
Woolworths Australia has opened a supermarket store that is 100% run on renewable energy. The initiative is part of the Living Building Challenge (LBC), the world’s most rigorous performance standard for buildings. The store will feature a number of sustainability initiatives, such as an increased display space for the retailer’s “odd bunch” range, which promotes fruit and vegetables usually destined for food waste, loose format produce, such as berries and cherry tomatoes, that would usually come in plastic packaging, and a partnership with OzHarvest to cut food waste and deliver leftover food to local hunger relief charities. Managing director, Claire Peters, said, “As Australia’s largest retailer, we recognise our responsibility to minimise our environmental footprint and are committed to playing our part in creating a greener, more sustainable future.”
Nearly 76% of Australian households purchased grapes in the year to June 11, down from 80.1% for the year prior.
Nielsen Homescan Australia figures also show that in terms of value, grape sales in Australia grew 4.17% over the same period, however, they slumped 18.1% in volume.
Nielsen said that out of white (green), red and black grapes, white grapes have the highest penetration, with 67.9% of Australian households purchasing them in the twelve months to June 11, compared to 73.1% the year prior. The spend on white grapes increased 9.1% but the volume sold at retail dropped 15.6%.
Over the same period, two in every five Australian households purchased red grapes and nearly a quarter bought black grapes.
Both the value and volume of red grapes declined, by 8% and 26.4% respectively, while for black grapes, the value was up 3.85% but the volume down 15.9%.
While Coles accounted for a 33.0% share of Australia’s grapes sales, closely followed by rival Woolworths with a 32.5% value share, Nielsen said greengrocers continue to be an important channel in the Australian market. ‘Non-supermarkets’ accounted for a 16.9% share of grape sales over the 12 month period, making for a larger share than the combined shares of both ALDI and IGA, it said.