FactCheck Social Media

Woolworths store does not have a dedicated Aussie products aisle

2020-04-24 16:35:37

The Statement

At a time when Australians are questioning the country’s reliance on overseas products, a social media post is purporting to show an “Aussie product aisle” at a Woolworths store in Queensland.

The Facebook post reads: “A great idea in Mt Isa’s Woolworths! An Aussie product aisle! If you want to sign this petition to get this in all stores.”

The April 16 post links to a Change.org petition, “Identify Australian Made products & Aisles in shops to help Aussie manufacturing”.

Accompanying the post is a photo of a supermarket aisle with an Australian flag above a sign which reads, “Australian Made”.

AAP FactCheck found two other similar versions of the post, here and here. In total the posts have been viewed more than 550,000 times and generated more than 6500 shares and 1000 interactions.

A Facebook post from April 16, 2020
 A Facebook post claims there is an “Aussie product aisle” at a Woolworths store in Mount Isa. 

The Analysis

The Facebook post makes the claim that a great idea, “An Aussie product aisle!”, has been implemented at a Woolworths store in Mount Isa, Queensland.

A Woolworths spokesperson told AAP FactCheck in an email that Mount Isa does not have an Australian products aisle and there are no plans at this stage to introduce such an aisle into stores.

“Ninety-six per cent of all our fruit and veggies are sourced in Australia and all our fresh meat is Australian grown. But no dedicated aisles as such,” the spokesperson said.

The post also directs Facebook users to a Change.org petition created by an Australian user titled, “Identify Australian Made products & Aisles in shops to help Aussie manufacturing”.

Change.org is a for-profit platform that hosts petitions. The website has played a role in a number of successful public advocacy campaigns in Australia, including attracting more than 80,000 signatures to stop oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight.

The petition linked to the Facebook post makes no mention of Mount Isa or Woolworths, instead asking readers to picture a scenario where: “You walk into the supermarket or store you’re shopping in and you first go to the aisle that has The Australian flag above it and in here THE retailer has placed all the Australian Made and produced products that have high % of Australian produced ingredients.”

Under the Australian Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard legislation (2016), most food sold in Australian supermarkets needs to display country of origin labels. Some Australian made goods will feature a kangaroo in a green triangle and a bar chart to denote the proportion of Australian content in the food.

The Change.org petition includes the same photo used in the Facebook post. Using a reverse image search, AAP FactCheck traced the photo to a news.com.au story, titled “Woolies fancy new stores” published on August 26, 2016. The image is credited as supplied.

The original photo features aisle signs, “Spreads”, “Muesli Bars”, “Longlife Milk”, “Tea”, “Coffee”, “UK Foods” and “European Foods”. In picture used in the post and petition the signs have been altered to read, “Australian Made”, “Canned Foods”, “Sugar” and “Rice”. The digitally altered photo also includes an Australian flag not present in the original.

A Woolworths store at Double Bay in Sydney (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)
 Woolworths told AAP FactCheck that Mount Isa does not have a dedicated Australian products aisle. 

The Verdict

Based on the evidence, AAP FactCheck found the claim in the post to be false. A Woolworths spokesperson confirmed to AAP FactCheck that Mount Isa store does not have a dedicated Australian products aisle and at this stage the company has no plans to introduce them into supermarkets.

False – The primary claims of the content are factually inaccurate or misleading.

* AAP FactCheck is accredited by the Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network, which promotes best practice through a stringent and transparent Code of Principles. https://aap.com.au/