Coles drops lamb prices to four-year low in massive 300-product blitz as PM puts grocery chains on notice

Coles has dropped prices on more than 300 products in store and online, including its most popular beef and lamb products, just as the government announced a review of whether Aussie supermarket giants are failing to pass on lower prices to consumers.

Coles on Wednesday announced prices on summer essentials like meat, deli, seafood, health, beauty and baby, pantry and bakery products, among others, would be lowered in a bid to support Aussie families “during the entertaining season, school holidays and back to school period”.

The grocery chain has announced lamb loin chops would dropped to their lowest price in four years – at $16/kilo.

But the move comes amid mounting criticism of the country’s supermarket chains, including claims they are failing to pass on lower prices to consumers and paying farmers poorly.

The same morning, Anthony Albanese announced former federal minister Craig Emerson had been appointed to lead a looming review of the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct.

The Prime Minister warned all options were “on the table” – including federal intervention if supermarkets failed to pass on lower prices to shoppers.

“What we want to make sure is that when the big supermarket chains get goods cheaper off our farmers, then those costs are relayed onto consumers,” Mr Albanese said.

Coles and Woolworths have faced consistent criticism for prices on their products amid the country’s cost of living crisis, in addition to their soaring company profits over the past few years.

A Coles spokeswoman said lamb loin chops were now priced at $16/kilo for the next two weeks, marking a 25 per cent saving.

Lamb cutlet prices will also drop to $29/kilo until January 23.

Other discounts include sizzle steaks dropping to $11 (down from $13), rum steaks to $22/kilo (down from $28), porterhouse steaks 2pk 450g to $14 (down from $18, in Victoria, Tasmania, Northern Territory and South Australia only) and scotch steak fillets 2pk 480g to $16 (down from $22, in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia only).

The spokeswoman also said avocados, rockmelons and watermelons were all 40 per cent cheaper, along with eggplants being 41 per cent lower and cauliflower prices being 20 per cent lower than this time last year.

The grocery chain has also announced prices on breakfast lunch box staples and cleaning products like dishwashing tablet packets.

Coles Executive General Manager Fresh, Andy Mossop, said the company is committed to providing value to Australians throughout the new year.

“Our customers are seeking lower prices and immediate value more than ever,” Mr Mossop said.

“Providing quality food and drink to our customers is at the heart of what we do, and it’s our priority to continue to work hard to deliver good prices and great value for customers.”

Nationals leader David Littleproud had previously slammed the grocery chains for “extraordinary” mark-ups on food, calling for the consumer watchdog to investigate allegations of price gouging.

Mr Littleproud also accused Labor of dragging its feet on the planned review, noting it had been 100 days since its initial announcement despite no-one being appointed to lead the review.

He told 4BC Radio the issue could have been resolved before Christmas if it was handled correctly while accusing grocery chains of “bullying farmers” with their power.

Mr Emerson, the former competition, trade and small business minister in the Rudd-Gillard government, was quietly announced as the man to lead the review last year, Mr Albanese confirmed on Wednesday.

Food inflation peaked at 9.2 per cent in December 2022, but has eased to just 4.8 per cent in the year to September.

Coles recorded a 4.8 per cent rise on its 2021-22 profits with a $1.1bn net profit.

Last August, Woolworths announced it had posted a $1.62bn after-tax profit up to June – up 4.6 per cent from last year.

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