CHOICE membership

Do you buy branded milk from the supermarket to support farmers?


We live in dairy country and we are doing as asked by the farmers.

We have increased our intake of dairy products overall, and are enjoying them. Icecream, yoghurts, flavoured milk, cheesecake, cheese, dips, etc, as long as they are made in Australia. We recommend that all Aussies do the same. If you’re on a diet buy skim milk products.


We live in Tassie, and get Ashgrove Tasmanian Farm Milk from the fridge at Woolies.


I am curious to know if we have made any difference at all to the farmers we hope to support by purchasing branded milk and dairy products rather than home brand?


We buy Norco Milk, from Coles mostly as they seem to stock it most reliably. Norco is a Co-op so money returns to the farmers and community.


Choice and many others have posted the reality of the farmers’ plight re pricing at the gate. The issue seems to be bubbling up once again since a few pollies see a possible vote here or there.

While filtered through a reporter this report reinforces where the problem lies.


“Woolworths will stop selling $1-a-litre milk in a move it says will help restore Australian dairy farmers’ viability, while heaping pressure on rivals Coles and Aldi to also increase their milk prices.”


I never expected Woolies to admit they they (and their competitors) do not negotiate a fair market price with suppliers. This announcement tells us that this is what they have done, they hold all the power, that they have screwed down the price to the point where their remaining suppliers are barely surviving and the supplier is powerless.

Now they say they will do better. They are not going to renegotiate, they are going to graciously give a bit! The suppliers have no say in this all they can do is touch their foreheads to the lord of the manor and say thank you for small mercy.

After the banking royal commission we don’t need another lesson in the evils of market concentration to the point of monopoly but here we have it, actually the converse monopsony.

Do they feel the need for another quick fix of public approval? What are they afraid of? Perhaps the board is feeling guilty. Perhaps.


Whilst I was just reading an article regarding the last dairy farmer in Biggenden, Qld, having been forced off his farm today by the bank, an email arrived for my wife from the hypocrites at Woolworths pretending to illustrate what a great job they are doing in supporting the dairy farmers.

A text book case of too little, too late.

With grubs, oops friends, oops grubs like them, who needs enemies?



There is some deja vu.

Grocers have contracts with middle men who have contracts with the dairy farmers (producers). No matter what the grocer charges the money goes into their pockets first. If through their goodness decide to renegotiate with their middlemen to offer a higher price the middlemen might or might not offer the dairy farmers more.

Raising the price 10% in the shop looks good and might be great marketing or just PR spin as it affects the producer communities.

In most business supply and demand sets or at least affects prices. It seems milk has become an almost unique outlier where the grocer has all the market power and the producers none.

It could be. The US has cheap milk because the US government heavily subsidises it while bleating about unfair competition on the international scene. Funny how some industries are ‘special’ from place to place.


I don’t buy milk, I use pouring cream in my coffee, omelettes and scrambled eggs, and I dont have cereal so no need for it there. I switched to cream a long time ago because it has far less sugar than milk (if you check the carb content you’ll find that its about 12g per 250ml or so… cream is about .9g in 30ml). If they had a way to get the sugar content out of milk, I’d probably use it again.

However, all that said, the only cream I tend to use is Dairy Farmers… and who owns that??


Looks like the ALP is introducing populist policies without concidering their impact and why the dairy industry was originally deregulated about 30 years ago.

My concern is what next, fix minimum prices for all agricultural products…then manufacturing products so that the producers/manufacturers can make reasonable profits at the expense of consumers. This has a slippery slope as it coukd result in the push for the introduction of tariffs to ensure that our local products are competitive with imports. Such is not a long term solution for anyone.

Farmers shouldn’t be working marginal land and causing off farm impacts. Setting a minimum price in any commodity will encourag ineffie/poor practices to continue as a minimum price insulates them from being pushed out of the industry.

What is needed rather than fixing prices to ensure that the market determines the price for items, not the customer nor the middle men (retailers or processors). Doing such would ensure that the prices are not manipulated to suit one particular part of the market. This could easily be done through provisions like that used for uncompetitive behaviour.


Personally I buy branded milk because it’s available in waxed containers rather than plastic. Agriculture has a high enough environment impact without the plastic waste.

Edit: phb has clarified the materials below


I also used to think that the milk cartons were made with a waxed lining, however, later found out that the cartons are made from liquid paperboard (layer of paper and a very thin plastic film).

It appears one can’t avoid plastic, It would be great if all milk packaging like yesteryear when milk came in glass bottles. There are some smaller dairy processors which bottle milk in glass, but these are very niche and not widespread. I have only seen them from time to time on out of the way places.

We are like you and only buy milk in liquid paperboard, as they can be recycled and have a high recycling value.


Neither my partner nor I has a lactose intolerance, but my partner accidentally purchased some Liddell’s long life milk ‘bricks’ which are labelled “lactose free”, so it appears that there is a way to get the sugar out.


Whilst they can be recycled, I have had a hard time trying to discover whether they actually are recycled. In our LGA ( Georges River ), it seems that they are not, although it also seems that a lot of other recyclable waste is not currently being recycled either, and is just being put into storage, or worse, landfill.


Thanks for the clarification. The most important factor for me is the lack of plastic cap. Although the plastic in milk bottle tops is recyclable, it’s too small to be sorted by household recycling so just winds up in landfill anyway.


I tried Zymil, still tasted sweet to me. But its more about the carbs (I’m diabetic, this isnt fad stuff) and those seem to remain much the same. I’ve become so used to cream now I just dont like anything else in coffee. which is good, saves me a bundle not buying coffee when out and about.


Our local Coles has Farmhouse Gold in glass bottles.


Abandoning those tariffs is what has led to the insane situation where our farmers cant compete with overseas imports. I always seek Australian goods but frequently cant find what I want with an Aussie label. I’ve given up trying to find garlic that doesnt have “product of China” on its label, and yet I know that there are Aussie growing garlic, where are they? What about when in the past, we have seen wholesale abandoning of truckloads of tomatoes/oranges/bananas, because farmers cant get a good price for them (it would cost more for them to get them to a market than to dump). Its a sad situation.


The sugars don’t disappear, just get transformed ino non-lactose species…for those with lactose sensitivities.

Liddell add lactase (enzyme) to the milk which converts the lactose to Galactose and Glucose.