Coles has jacked up its home brand butter.Source:Facebook
Coles has jacked up its home brand butter.Source:Facebook

Coles receipts reveal massive price increase

COLES has confirmed it has hiked the price of its own-brand butter by more than 20 per cent, after a sharp-eyed customer noticed the difference when comparing two receipts.

"Can you please tell me why the price of butter has gone up up, the price is up?" Julie-Anne French wrote on the supermarket's Facebook page. "These receipts are one week apart."

The first receipt lists Coles 500g butter for $3.60, while the second shows the price as $4.40, an increase of 22 per cent. "Coles is committed to reducing the average cost of our customers' shopping baskets as we have been doing since 2008," a spokeswoman said.

"However, due to changing world commodity prices and a significant cost increase from our supplier, we have increased prices for Coles Brand Butter and Butter blends to reflect the higher cost."

Coles says its increase was to bring it into line with Woolworths, which was first to raise prices. But Woolworths maintains this price round Coles raised first, then Woolworths, then Aldi. In February, the last time butter increased in price, it was Aldi, then Woolworths, then Coles.

The supermarket blamed “a significant cost increase”.Source:Facebook
The supermarket blamed “a significant cost increase”.Source:Facebook

According to data from Global Dairy Trade, global butter prices have increased by more than 50 per cent over the last 12 months, and are 150 per cent higher than at their lowest point in August 2015.

Restaurants and bakeries have noticed significant butter price increases this year, which experts have blamed on increased international demand, a slump in milk production, and the resurgence in popularity for full-fat over skim milk, meaning less byproduct available for butter manufacturers.

Coles last week posted its first fall in profits since Wesfarmers bought the business in 2007. Rival Woolworths is due to report its full-year results on Wednesday.

Describing it as an "unprecedented year" of competition, Coles managing director John Durkan said he "actually would have expected a worse set of sales numbers" given the significant price investment from Woolworths and expansion of Aldi into South Australia and WA.

"These things just take time in terms of getting the growth back in our business that we want, but we're putting the right things in place at the moment to be able to capitalise on the growth when it arrives," he said.

Mr Durkan said he expected Coles' comparable sales growth, which slipped to just one per cent, to improve in the second half of the year as price cuts pay off.