Farming that is better together

Invest in farmers

We are committed to building strong and collaborative relationships with Australian farmers, producers and suppliers. Their hard work and dedication enables us to provide high-quality products to our customers.

Coles is proud to partner with our Australian fresh produce growers to provide our customers with great quality Australian fruit and vegetables and we are committed to doing so wherever possible.

Coles Supermarkets has an Australian-first sourcing policy to provide our customers with quality Australian-grown fresh produce as a first priority. In FY20, 96% of fresh produce, by volume, was sourced from our supply partners from all over Australia, excluding floral, nuts, dried fruit, sauces, dressings and packaged salads. In FY20, 100% of fresh lamb, pork, chicken, beef, milk and eggs and 100% of Own Brand frozen vegetables were Australian grown.
 

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Animal welfare

Coles cares about how our food is produced and sourced and we are committed to working towards a sustainable future that supports local farmers and food producers, while also looking after the welfare of animals through programs such as the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme.

Coles’ vision is to ‘become the most trusted retailer in Australia and grow long-term shareholder value’, and we believe that protecting and improving the welfare of animals in our supply chains is central to gaining and maintaining customer trust.

Our Animal Welfare PolicyOpens in new window is based around the five freedoms of animal welfare:

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst;
  • Freedom from discomfort;
  • Freedom from pain, injury and disease;
  • Freedom to express normal behaviour; and
  • Freedom from fear and distress.

This policy sets out our expectations regarding the treatment of animals in our Coles Own Brand global supply chains.

We are proud to be the first major Australian supermarket to deliver:

  • All Coles Own Brand fresh beef with no added hormones;
  • All Coles Own Brand shell eggs cage-free;
  • All Coles Own Brand fresh pork, ham and bacon sow stall-free and produced without artificial growth  promotants;
  • All Coles Own Brand fresh chicken RSPCA Approved;
  • All Coles Own Brand fresh turkey RSPCA Approved;
  • Coles Own Brand fresh free-range chicken and fresh free-range turkey RSPCA Approved;
  • All Coles Own Brand fresh free-range pork RSPCA Approved.

In FY21 we achieved a significant milestone and now all Coles Own Brand products sold in Coles supermarkets that have meat as an ingredient are being produced in alignment with the following Coles’ fresh sourcing requirements of: 

  • No added hormone beef;
  • Sow-stall free pork, ham and bacon produced without artificial growth promotants;
  • RSPCA Approved chicken1;
  • RSPCA Approved turkey2; and
  • Free-range RSPCA Approved pork,

We will continue to reformulate Coles Own Brand products sold in Coles Express stores to increase the proportion of higher welfare ingredients in these products.

Now that Coles has achieved these sourcing requirements for Coles Own Brand products sold in Coles supermarkets, we are committed to maintaining these standards through internal governance processes and will continue to report on them annually. To support this, our Animal Welfare Policy objectives are assessed through regular audits of food manufacturing sites, certification to farm assurance standards and the assessment of farms against our Coles Farm Program requirements.

These results are reported by the Quality and Responsible Sourcing teams to commercial and senior management.
Through the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme, RSPCA Australia assesses our partner chicken, turkey and free-range pig abattoirs for conformance with the RSPCA Standards.  Our partner red meat and pork abattoirs are independently audited by the industry body AUS-MEAT to the Australian Livestock Processing Industry Animal Welfare Certification System (AAWCS) (or an international equivalent if required).

The day-to-day responsibility for animal welfare standards, management and monitoring at Coles is held by the Responsible Sourcing Manager – Agriculture.

1 Excluding organic chicken ingredients in Coles Own Brand products due to an absence of RSPCA Approved and Organic certified producers in Australia.

2 Coles Own Brand turkey is only available during Christmas.

Sourcing

Coles has a commitment to source animal products from farming operations that have animal welfare standards which meets our high expectations and, where applicable, hold animal welfare certification. We are continuously working with our suppliers to improve animal welfare standards in a way that supports Australian farmers and food producers, as we know this is important to our customers. Coles ensures that our Animal Welfare Policy is reflected in the supply chain for Coles Own Brand products through mechanisms including supplier contracts, auditing processes and the Coles Farm Program. The Coles Food Manufacturing Supplier Requirement is a standard that Coles Own Brand suppliers are audited against which includes animal welfare standards for relevant suppliers. For example, where processes involve live animals, poultry, fin fish or crustaceans, an animal welfare policy must be in place stating the supplier’s intentions to meet all local laws and regulations regarding animal welfare.

Industry work

Coles participates in industry and animal welfare events organised by state government, researchers and NGOs throughout the year, such as the National Primary Industries Animal Welfare Research Development and Extension Forum and the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework (ABSF), an initiative of the Red Meat Advisory Council managed by Meat and Livestock Australia. Coles has also contributed to industry welfare initiatives such as the development of Meat and Livestock Australia’s Feedlot Cattle Welfare Benchmarking Framework. We are a contributing member of the AUS-MEAT Language and Standards Committee, which manages the development of the AUS-MEAT National Accreditation Standards including welfare requirements.

In 2020, our Responsible Sourcing Manager – Agriculture contributed to the second season of the RSPCA’s Humane Food Podcast on the topic of antibiotic resistance, usage practices in the Australian agricultural industry and welfare implications of restricting antibiotic use in farm animals. By participating in these events, we aim to stay up-to-date with the most current animal welfare science and collaborate on initiatives to improve animal welfare standards in the long term.

In May 2021, Coles ran animal welfare training sessions for Coles team members and suppliers who work with livestock and animal products.  This training covered humane slaughter and animal handling at abattoirs.

More information can be found in the  Responsible Agriculture FAQsOpens in new window .

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