Food fail

Produce dumped by Coles after planned power outage.

Shelves in Coles Maylands were left bare as thousands of items were dumped. Photo by James Kozak

COLES’ Maylands supermarket sent a truck-full of perfectly edible food to the tip last week after not adequately preparing for a planned power outage.

Customers arrriving at the Coles on Thursday October 13 were greeted with signs taped to its meat, dairy and frozen aisles saying “due to power outage all refrigation products are unable to be sold”.

Local resident Mark Mennell saw a conga line of Coles employees piling trolley after trolley into a skip bin at the rear of the store which was quickly hauled away by a Cleanaway truck.

“I felt angry at the quantity of obviously good food that was just being chucked out, especially animal products where the animals suffered needlessly,” Mr Mennell told the Voice.

“The power outage was planned so (this) could have been avoided.”

Maylands resident James Kozak interrogated the Cleanaway truck driver and Coles employees to no avail, noting that the truck was “trailing a stream of milk all the way”.

Back at the supermarket all its refrigerated and frozen shelving was bare.

Mr Kozac said he decided to try the nearby IGA and he was shocked by the contrast.

“IGA’s shelves were operating as usual; fully stocked with the freshest of items and a great selection,” he said.

Employees told him after Western Power notified them about the power outage, they hired a generator.

Mr Kozak described Coles’ waste of food, which comes amidst global shortages exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, as a “crime against humanity”.

PR blitz

Last year Coles adopted, amidst a PR blitz, a Together to Zero sustainability campaign which claimed the company was aiming to “divert 85 per cent of solid waste from landfill” by 2025 and to maximise “food waste diversion opportunities in stores”.

“Commencing Sunday July 25, the campaign highlights Coles’ aspiration towards zero waste, zero emissions and zero hunger and encourages all Australians to work together to ensure Australia is a better place for future generations,” the company said in a press release at the campaign’s launch.

The Voice contacted Coles for a comment, but the company refused.


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