The Australian Government introduced a new country of origin food labelling system in July 2016 which now falls under the Information Standard under Australian Consumer Law.
Under this Information Standard, businesses had two years to transition to these arrangements. The new label system hopes to make things clearer for consumers, allowing them to make quick, informed decisions about the products they buy. Woolworths utilized Solutions for Retail Brands’ (S4RB) in-house expertise to provide and manage the data collection process for over 25,000 branded and own brand products.
Having a collaborative approach with suppliers was extremely important. Pre-populating known data for suppliers completing the product information survey, rather than using the historical ‘blank spreadsheet’ approach, was vital to ensure the efficiency of the project.
S4RB’s expertise in supplier engagement led to a rapid response rate with 70% of all branded and own brand product information submitted within two months of the tool being launched. Suppliers were able to use the new tool to inform Woolworths of their new Country of Origin statements for both own brand and branded products.
The vast number of products within the Woolworths portfolio and the consequences of not adhering to the legislation required a quick solution. Manufacturing and artwork lead times meant that the retailer’s deadline needed to be considerably earlier than the government’s deadline.
For most retailers running this type of campaign, problems typically surface further down the line when the data is in and the reporting begins. To avoid this, the S4RB solution gives live reporting, including dashboards to show which suppliers have opened, responded and submitted information. This allows data to be loaded into systems in increments which has been instrumental in ensuring artwork lead times can be met.
The survey has been running alongside the launch of the supplier engagement portal, FoodCo, and Woolworths have managed to leverage this engagement to ensure a rapid response rate on the Country of Origin data collection campaign.
As well as collecting the detailed information required, the exercise identified any out of date product data for inactive products, which could then be corrected for data integrity purposes, and allowed many new products to be added to the system, resulting in a highly accurate report on the volume of products needing action.
Woolworths was then able to risk assess the impact of the labelling legislation changes as a business and take the necessary action to ensure compliance by the July 2018 deadline.
- 30,000+ products/40+ product categories
- 500+ own brand suppliers / 4,000+ own brand products
- 50% response rate in just 7 weeks
- 70% of own brand product data captured in 8 weeks