Coles Sub Standard Broccoli

For the last few weeks, our local Coles has been selling the worst excuse for broccoli I have ever seen at any Coles for $6.90/kg.

The last time I bought some there, after I had looked at the small amount of unfit for purpose broccoli on display, I asked a staff memeber in Fresh Produce if they had any fresh stock out the back.

He said that they did and would top up the display whilst I did the rest of our shopping, but when I returned I could not see any difference so I asked him.

He said that he had put the rest of the carton out and he had another carton out the back but it was all the same as that is all they had been receiving lately…

I went to another nearby Coles yesterday, and whilst their broccoli was not perfect, it was still vastly superior to what our local Coles has been selling.

I had to call into our local Coles on the way home to get something that my wife forgot and checked out the broccoli which was the same rubbish.

The photo does not do it justice as it actually looks a lot worse than what the photo shows.

It begs the question of why one local Coles is only selling the worst broccoli that I have ever seen at Coles whilst another nearby Coles has reasonable quality broccoli.

Perhaps they are getting discounts to accept the rubbish so as to maximise profits or the other Coles refused to accept the rubbish.

At $6.90/kg it is certainly unacceptable.

Meanwhile Coles website lists broccoli being temporarily unavailable for online orders but at least the photo shows what the product should look like.

Has anyone else noticed sub-standard broccoli at their local Coles?


I think it could be supply available at the moment. The green grocer we frequent has similar looking broccoli, likewise our local Asian food markets. Haven’t checked our local Woolworths, but suspect that the broccoli will look similar.

$6.90 per kilo is also the going rate in SE Qld.

The quality could be affected by rainfall, summer growing season (hot weather), variety planted for summer harvesting etc…rather than what Coles may or may not have done.

Woolworths has a media release on their website about current broccoli quality…namely…

Supply and quality of broccoli has been affected.

Extreme heat and lack of rain in the growing regions has impacted the supply and quality of broccoli. We are working closely with our suppliers to improve supply as quickly as possible.


It is only through the miracle of supermarket purchasing and transport that you get any broccoli at all at this time of year. If you find the quality is not worth the price don’t buy it at this time of year. Even the might of Colesworths cannot make all foods available out of season in even fair quality.


It appears by the lack of replies that no one else has experienced sub-standard broccoli at Coles.

Today I went to the Coles where I bought some reasonable broccoli the other day and they only had a single yellowing piece at the new price of $8.90/kg, so I asked a staff member if they had any more stock, to which he advised no as what they had ordered had not been delivered today.

I then went to our local Supa IGA who had plenty of nice looking broccoli and I selected a couple of firm pieces at $11.99/kg.

Whilst at our local Woollies I noticed that they had plenty of stock of really nice looking broccoli, which was all firm, for $9.90/kg after which I went to our local Coles who had no broccoli and a sign claiming supply problems.

I normally only buy broccoli at Coles as neither Woollies or our local Supa IGA have woken up to displaying it on crushed ice on top of chilled containers of water to help stop the aircon destroying it.

However, it appears that the wholesalers must be now filling the orders for Woollies and IGA, and then picking up any leftovers from the bottom of the containers and off the floor to supply Coles.

They may use different wholesalers, but even when they use the same ones they specify the prices they are willing to pay. Most of the times products are ‘unavailable because of supply problems’ it is because nobody is willing to supply them at the wholesale prices the grocery is willing to pay; sometimes there are genuine supply problems usually verified when no shop has product.

My punt is that you have observed a price-performance issue between Coles and its supplier(s).


Many of the major supermarkets have contracts directly with growers, to remove the wholesaler and associated costs. Some supermarkets also use their growers in advertising campaigns as they are a direct supplier to that particukar supermarket only.

One has to also remember that ‘quality’ with fruit and vegetables is very much in the eye of the beholder. Fruit snd vegetables are graded based on their size, colour, shape and appearance (such as blemishes). Thise with highly desirable characteristics are graded high, without those with less desirable lower. Higher graded products command a premium over their lower grade counterparts…all because of oerception of quality.

Lower graded products are equally nutritious as their high graded cousins. In fact, there was some research a few years (decade +) ago that looked into insect damage of fruits and vegetables and this research showed that insect damage may stimulate the plants to produce chemicals which enhance some specific nutritional values (such as 'antioxidants).

Also, yellow produce which is usualky green may bot indicate a reduction in quality, but couldninsicate a reduction in direct sunlight contact with the produce (which b is why middle lettuce leaves in an iceberg lettuce are usually lguth green/yellowish).

Whilst produce may not be appealling to one, it may still have the same nutritional benefits of a more pleasant looking one.

Not purchasing the odd looking ones can lead to reject by all customers and thus increase food waste.

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Very true if consumers refuse to buy rubbish broccoli at Coles, if even in stock, at $8.90/kg instead of buying premium “fit for purpose” broccoli at Woollies at $9.90/kg or at our local Supa IGA at $11.99/kg.

The probable reason that Coles were selling their sub-standard rubbish broccoli is because it is ino longer legal to feed swill to pigs.

That’s pretty harsh. Are you just venting because you are cranky over broccoli being a cool season vegie or do you have some actual reason to make such an accusation?

The quality of fresh produce varies with the grower, the season and the supply chain. If you see some you don’t like don’t buy it.


I did not buy it but left it for you as you don’t seem to be concerned as to the quality available.

I bought first grade product instead as I do all year round.

I’m not buying much in the way of fresh (oh really?) produce at Coles anymore. Lately my experience has been like @Fred123’s … its poor quality. The bananas are always a bit too ripe, the radishes are soft, the lettuce already browning… etc. The only things I buy there now are frozen veg, onions, and potatoes. I bought some radishes yesterday, which seemed to be fresh/hard. By the time I got them home, they were already softening. Washing and refrigerating hasnt helped much.

And yes… different quality in different Coles stores.


So true. My local experience is the reverse where Coles consistently has better F&V than the Woolies as well as slightly more variety in green veg while Woolies usually has more potato varieties although it is always the same old same old ranges. That being written the Coles sometimes has short runs of potato varieties one doesn’t usually see excepting sometimes in larger F&V shops such as Maris Piper, kestrel, royal blue, and others; but Woolies does not do the same with their F&V.

They all try their best and from week to week it is not always smooth. One goes to the grocer(s), (and butcher, baker, F&V, and wherever) buys what one wants from each, and moves on until the next shop when it might all be different. If they were consistently substandard they would be out of business if there was better competition in their area.


It’s a common problem getting quality fresh produce in Australia. The further you live from the grower or Sydney and Melbourne the less you seem to matter to Colesworth.

Perhaps we should take a lesson from Japan. Everything is always available all year around. Some product is locally grown, using heated green houses as necessary to extend the season. Otherwise it is imported from whereever it can be sourced. South America, California, Indonesia, New Zealand. All fresh product is priced accordingly.

Cairns and Australia just needs to catch up with the times and air freight fresh sprouts in season from Brussels, or broccoli from Chile; Air freight costs and quarantine permitting? Cairns has an International terminal, ensuring a great place to import direct and bypass Coles and Woolies. :+1:

The alternative is to only buy fresh what is in season, or rely on the frozen product.

P.S. Or maybe some enterprising Broccoli lover in Cairns good set up an air conditioned greenhouse (solar powered) just for fresh Broccoli? At over $10/kg what a great business? :wink:


Quite the reverse. If you understand the complexity of getting good quality produce all year round it is easier to switch to a supplier who has done well this year rather than complain about one that hasn’t. Your complaint is based on the assumption that Coles could do better if only they tried harder but that is not necessarily the case. Next year it could be IGA that has the poor stuff and Coles that has the good.


No broccoli has been on the shelves of our Woolies or Coles at the moment so I could not comment on the standard/quality of the product. ALDI has had broccolini which has been of excellent quality, they have had no Broccoli at the stores we visit.


I’m of the opinion that we should not be demanding to have fruits and vegies out of season. I noticed that this week our Coles has oranges from the USA. I will not buy them. I’d rather go without or have something else. I love brussels sprouts but they seem to be a winter crop and thats when the best ones are available at the F&V a couple of suburbs over, the Coles stuff has been in cold store. I dont like old brussels sprouts, they are usually big, loose leaved and just dont taste right when cooked.


Do what I do and cherry pick them.

I pull the wicker basket or plastic bin out from under the shelf and sometimes even place it on top of my trolley so as to be able to rummage through the entire contents whilst selecting only the small, firm green ones.

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You apparently have competition who got to the broccoli before you did. The outcome of cherry picking F&V is that someone like yourself or myself has only dregs to chose from. Not a whinge, just stating the obvious.

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It does not seem to matter if the basket of bin is fully or not.

The sprouts vary greatly in size as well as their firmness and colour.

When it is actually down to the dregs, I give them a miss.

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Whilst I was at a nearby Coles yesterday, I noticed that they now have premium grade broccoli.

Perhaps the rubbish they have had in recent weeks has gone the way of the other veggies in the article below and they had to get some decent stock like Woollies and our local Supa IGA have been stocking.

An article regarding Cples announcing that they will stock imperfect fruit & vegetables incluing broccoli.

They must have been having a trial run with the broccoli

Whilst buying onions at Coles yesterday, I noticed that they had 1.5kg bags of “imperfect” onions, all of which were short dated and one of which had a rotten onion in the bag.

Definitely lives up to the name.