Supermarket giant Woolworths to slash lamb prices by 20 per cent this festive season

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Adam PoulsenCountryman
A general view of Woolworths signage on Sept 26, 2023.
Camera IconA general view of Woolworths signage on Sept 26, 2023. Credit: Matt Jelonek/The West Australian

Woolworths has temporarily slashed prices on a range of lamb products by 20 per cent as calls mount for supermarkets to pass on more savings to customers.

It comes amid growing concerns low farmgate prices being paid to sheep and cattle producers in recent months are not being reflected at the retail level.

The supermarket giant on Monday announced the price drop — which applies to 26 Australian lamb products nationwide until December 27 — as part of its strategy to “help customers spend less” during the festive season.

Included are popular cuts such as forequarter chops, which have been locked at $12.50 per kilo, mince ($11/kg), cutlets ($34/kg), midloin chops ($22/kg) and leg roast ($8/kg).

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Woolworths Supermarkets managing director Natalie Davis said it was the lowest promotional price on lamb leg roasts since February 2017, and the lowest regular price on lamb since June 2013.

“We understand the budget challenges many of our customers are experiencing and we are looking for every opportunity to pass on savings to help our customers,” she said.

“Lamb is popular with many of our customers during Christmas and for summer barbecues, and customers can now pick up their favourite cuts for 20 percent less this season.”

Woolworths expected to sell 1.7 million kilos of lamb leg roast this Christmas season.

The move comes after Federal Agriculture Minister Murray Watt last month flagged the need for a “reduction” between the prices livestock producers were receiving and what supermarkets were charging.

Speaking at the Rural Press Club of Victoria on October 12, Senator Watt said the situation was “a really big issue” for farmers and consumers.

“I know there is a lot of frustration in the general community that the lower prices that producers are receiving are not necessarily being reflected at the supermarket,” he said.

“Of course, retailers and others do have additional costs; it is not just the farmgate price. But I think we’d like to see some reduction in that differential going forward.”

Senator Watt took to social media platform X on Monday to welcome the move by Woolworths, and called on “other big retailers” to follow.

“When farmers are getting lower prices due to oversupply and impending drought, consumers should see some cost of living relief on the shelves,” he wrote.

The post attracted a barrage of comments from farmers including Esperance sheep producer and 2019 WA Agrifutures Rural Women’s Award winner, Belinda Lay.

“So they should, they are buying it dirt cheap,” she wrote.

“How much price gouging happened before they buckled under the questioning?”

Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci last month said retail lamb costs had not come down due to processing and transport costs going up.

“We do expect to see more activity in this area as these prices come down ... we do expect to see more opportunities to pass on benefits to our customers in the protein area,” he said.

WA Agriculture Minister Jackie Jarvis said it was an opportunity for West Australians to support farmers, and urged consumers to buy more locally-produced meat.

“We know the increasing cost of living is impacting Western Australian families and I welcome any measure that provides relief, especially in the lead up to Christmas,” she said.

“It’s important to support our State’s sheep producers, who are facing challenging industry and seasonal conditions.”

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