The Fresh Food People, not so fresh

We used to purchase our fruit and veg from Woolworths during our weekly grocery shop, but their so called fresh food has become stale and seedy. Broccoli is no longer green, more a seedy purple colour. Cauliflower is often brown instead of white. Apples in prepacked trays are now becoming full of heavily bruised fruit. Potatoes, once you wash the dirt off can be rotten to the core. Yet they still advertise themselves as the fresh food people. Having the convenience of a fresh fruit and vegetable section in Woolies is no longer a convenience and we now travel out of our way to shop from a local veggie store instead.

Another issue we had was from their online shopping service, which we gave up on after being charged multiple times for items that weren’t packed and for having items packed one to a plastic shopping bag. Whenever we ordered the meat online it would have a use by date of only one day and in some cases was completely off. After numerous complaints we were told that they had to pack meat that was due to expire in a day because people were complaining about the quality and this ensured that they consumed it on the day of delivery. No idea how that logic works, but at least two online store managers explained it to us that way.

We live in an area that’s dominated by Woolworths with the nearest Coles a bit further of a hike to get to. Living in Tassie there’s no such thing as an Aldi so our choices are limited.

Anyway, my main gripe is that Woolies is allowed to advertise themselves as the Fresh Food People, when we’re constantly being presented with seemingly out of date stock. Apart from obvious visual clues there’s no way to actually determine the age of their fresh fruit and veg because they never disclose any dates on the things.

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That is no less honest than any other business making equally ridiculous claims. Their defence is that consumers are supposed to know and expect it is all marketing hype that may or may not have any bearing on reality.

To practicalities, if you had the chance to legislate what “fresh food” means, how would you define it in a legal sense that would withstand a legal challenge and be what was was intended? 1-day old? 5-days old? Not yet over-ripe regardless of days old? Want to add blemishes and size as part of it?

BTW, I share your sentiments about the quality (and lack thereof) we usually find from Woolies produce and their sale items are often small, old, or second tier. Our Coles is usually better but we have found a small shop that is only a bit dearer with consistently impressive quality. That shop would be a hard days travel from Tassie :wink:

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Couldn’t agree more, Woolies often worse at “fresh food” than other chains, and you can add wrinkled asparagus to the list of stale green-groceries.

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I’m so old that I remember when there used to be consumer protection laws.

Thank the gods for Choice taking over the role that government should be doing.


Funny you should mention the asparagus. Our local Woolies has a new stand in the veggie section especially for asparagus with signs saying it’s now in season, yet the withered up stalks they have tied into bundles look like they were picked fresh last season.

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I live in Sydney and have long been dissatisfied at the lack of quality in the fresh food of major supermarkets. I am sure I am one of multitudes who can not be bothered returning items purchased, which once cut, find they are rotten or unusable. We now learn that the picking of fruit is using unethical practices. Surely something can be done with both sourcing fresh food and quality control? I so often feel ‘robbed’ and I do not retaliate in return, but feel they should be spot checked and fined for lack of scruples and self-regulation.

One has to be naive to take “fresh food people” and similar advertising banners seriously. Their purpose is to sell and if that doesn’t look like what it is then they will eventually change the banner after complains. Buyers have to be smart and never take any claims at face values. Alas, we live in an imperfect world where everyone has their own goals.

I for one got totally fed up with both Woolworth and Coles so called fresh food claims. So after tolerating this for several years. I now take the vege/fruit back for a replacement (providing it is fresher then the returned item) or I demand a refund. I get a lot of angry responses and misleading consumer rights from the staff. I then send a copy of the receipt and refund details with a complaint to head office. I know they will most likely not pay any attention to this one lonely person making a complaint. ( I suspect the complaint probably ends up on the “joke of the day” notice board. But if MORE of us did this we might just achieve a good result. Or do what I do most weekends go to the local farmers market or buy vege/fruit from Aldi as I find their fresh food is of a better quality.


Asparagus yep love it but mostly it is a product of China or somewhere in Sth America so how often could it be fresh? Only rarely do I see Australian Asparagus in the shops and no matter where it is from it has to be used in day or it is wilted and limp. I think it is probably fresher out of a can that was sealed the year before than what they put in the Vege section.