As Australian as you can get
Why can't we find Dick Smith Food products in our local supermarket?
The reason is simple – it all depends on us, the consumers.
We have found that the Aussie owned supermarkets – Coles, Woolworths and IGA – will generally give our new products shelf position and if we can get a market share of, say, at least 10% they will generally keep them on the shelves. However, if our market share drops below the threshold of about 10%, the supermarkets will generally drop our products and replace them with other products which have a higher market share.
We have been fortunate with some products. Our Peanut Butter, which is made with Australian peanuts and which we think is one of the best peanut butters in the world, has now dropped to about 6% of market share, however it has been kept on the supermarket shelves. We believe this is because the Australian-owned supermarkets do support Australian farmers where they can, and this is good.
What is also being forced on our Australian-owned supermarkets is a move to more and more of their own brands. This is because Aussie consumers are giving great support to the foreign-owned outlets, such as Aldi and Costco, which basically sell their own generic lines so that prices cannot be compared. This means a company like Aldi can sell, for example, a yeast spread which competes with Vegemite but is made in the very low-cost country of Brazil – where some people can earn as little as $5.00 a day. Aldi can therefore make a small fortune, because consumers cannot compare the price of Aldi’s generic yeast spread with other shops selling the same product, as no others do.
This pressure for our Australian-owned companies to move more and more to their own brands will be forced on them because the alternative is to not compete with these large, foreign-owned chains, and that will result in a loss of market share followed by a lack of growth, so share values will drop and the management and boards of our Aussie supermarkets will get the sack!
Where can I find a list of Australian-owned companies?
To see the latest list of Aussie-owned food brands, please visit the Fightback magazine. AusBuy also publishes an annual guide to Australian products, which can be purchased from Woolworth’s and Coles, or direct from AusBuy on 1300 882 361 or at www.ausbuy.com.au.
How can I find out more about Dick Smith Foods’ manufacturing procedures?
Dick Smith Foods does not actually manufacture any of the products sold under the Dick Smith Foods label. All the products are produced by Australian-owned companies under a licensing agreement with Dick Smith Foods, who manage and market the brand and it's products.
Some of the companies who supply Dick Smith Foods products have been able to increase the size of their factories or increased staff levels as a result of manufacturing products for Dick Smith Foods. All must adhere to quality guidelines, remain Australian-owned, and use raw ingredients sourced from Australia wherever possible.
What quality management procedures are in place for Dick Smith Foods products?
Before a manufacturer agrees to make Dick Smith Foods products the quality of their products and processes is inspected, and standards are put in place to ensure that all products sold under the Dick Smith Foods brand are of the highest quality. All food manufacturers in Australia must also fulfil a number of compulsory regulatory requirements relating to food production in order for their products to be sold for public consumption, and this is closely monitored by the company itself and by outside regulatory bodies.
What research and development does Dick Smith Foods undertake?
Dick Smith Foods is always looking at potential new products in its quest to restore the balance to the Australian grocery industry, which is currently dominated by foreign-owned companies. The company has a food technologist on staff for this purpose, and is also constantly looking at ways to improve the current product range.
How does Dick Smith Foods respond to consumer influences?
Dick Smith Foods has its own web-based customer feedback system, a free-call number (listed on every pack) and dedicated customer services staff. The company values customer feedback highly and closely monitors customer contacts concerning its products, including any product problems that customers may experience.
What does Dick Smith Foods see as its role in the food industry?
Dick Smith Foods is working to restore the balance in Australian shopping trolleys, where foreign-owned companies now dominate. There is no doubt that many of these companies employ Australians and pay Australian taxes, but the profits from the sale of their products go overseas to the company’s foreign owners, instead of being invested in the country where the money was made.
Dick Smith Foods believes that it is important for consumers to have the option to choose to purchase an Australian made product from an Australian-owned company, knowing that the profits from the sale will be re-invested back into our economy, providing a sustainable future for the next generation of Australians.
Dick Smith Foods has taken this philosophy one step further by donating a large proportion of the profits to charities and humanitarian causes around Australia. Since the beginning of Dick Smith Foods we have donated over $3.50 million to a large number of charitable organisations.
What career opportunities are there within Dick Smith Foods?
The staff employed directly by Dick Smith Foods are responsible for the management and marketing of the brand. As there are no manufacturing processes to oversee, the Dick Smith Foods’ team is quite small.
As with all Australian companies, Dick Smith Foods adheres to the relevant Government guidelines relating to Equal Opportunity employment.
Is it possible for companies which are 100% Australian owned to manufacture products which contain 100% Australian content?
Because the large majority of products available in Australia are either produced or marketed by foreign owned companies (up to 85%) it is almost impossible for an Australian manufacturer not to include some foreign content in its production process. The computers used to program manufacturing equipment and the printing inks used for packaging are just two examples.
The aim of Dick Smith Foods is to significantly improve on the present policy set by the Government, which requires manufacturers using the Made in Australia logo to have at least 50% Australian made content. Our plan is to aim for 90% Australian made content and believe we can achieve at least an 80% average in any given year.
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Where can I buy Dick Smith products?
It is becoming more and more difficult to keep our products on the shelves in Supermarkets across Australia. We try very hard, but we cannot guarantee that you will find a particular product in any store. If you want to shop at an Independent Supermarket, then you can influence how you shop to a certain extent. Ask the Store Manager to get in the Dick Smith Foods product that you want to purchase. Unfortunately the Store Managers at Coles and Woolworths stores have their stocking policy controlled by Head Offices. Feel free to ring them and register your disappointment at their non Australian sourcing policies – but do not expect them to change.
Dick Smith Foods' position on Genetic Modification
Food Biotechnology involves the application of living organisms, or parts or products of living organisms, for a food purpose. It applies as much to the art of bread making and brewing as it does to genetic modification (GM), cloning or stem cell research. The use of biotechnology has the potential to offer very significant improvements in the quantity, quality and acceptability of the world's food supply.
Dick Smith Foods supports the responsible use of biotechnology in the supply of foods. However, in the application of any new technology, issues of product safety, environmental concerns, information and ethics must be satisfactorily addressed. It is also very important that consumers are given sufficient information and time to make informed choices.
In relation to the genetic modification of food crops specifically, at this point in time we do not believe that consumer understanding, nor the scientific, political and commercial arguments have reached a point where all parties can agree on the best way forward for GM crops, hence caution is warranted. While the benefits of GM crops are hotly contested, it is prudent to be cautious until the full impact of the technology is more clearly understood.
In responding to the issues outlined above, our aim is to provide foods that are manufactured from non-GM ingredients. Where difficult supply chain scenarios are involved, we believe that a segregated "non-GM" supply chain, supported by comprehensive handling protocols, is the best solution in meeting consumer needs. We fully support Australian and New Zealand food regulations that require labelling where there is consistent presence of genetically modified ingredients (above very low threshold levels). The absence of genetic modification statements on our packaging is testimony to our non-GM stance and we will continue to work with our suppliers through product specifications and supply agreements to ensure that the non-GM status of our products is met.
Does Dick Smith Foods produce Gluten-Free foods?
Yes we do. The following products are Gluten Free:
The following products have no gluten in the ingredients, however Dick Smith Foods can’t guarantee they are gluten free as they have not been tested to ensure they are gluten free:
Why do some food products now carry food allergy warnings such as "May contain traces of nuts and seeds"?
Under new food regulations common food allergens and/or substances capable of causing an intolerance must be declared on food labels. These are:
Food products containing these substances must be declared when present as:
These allergens can also be declared in the ingredient list, simply by listing the allergen as an ingredient.
In some instances food products that contain no allergens in the recipe may be produced in a factory or on the same processing line that manufactures products containing one or more of the above allergens. If, following extensive investigation, it is considered technologically impossible or impractical to guarantee the absence of allergen cross-contamination, manufacturers may add statements such as "May
contain traces of nuts and seeds" or "May contain milk and/or egg products" in order to provide more information to consumers about their products.
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