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The Warehouse Group takes another step to rival supermarket duopoly, selling popular egg brand for $5



New Zealand’s biggest retailer is continuing its efforts to become a place for Kiwis to buy their essential groceries by taking a crack at egg prices.

In a move that may ruffle feathers, The Warehouse is selling cartons of a dozen Farmer Brown fresh colony eggs for $5 in all stores across the country.

The “everyday low price” deal was brought in after The Warehouse sold thousands of cartons when it ran the same deal in December.

“We hatched this plan after seeing how well Kiwis responded to the $5 price as part of our daily deals promotion, and we hope plenty of smart and savvy shoppers get down to The Warehouse to grab a carton of eggs,” said Jenny Epke, chapter area lead for buying and design at The Warehouse Group.

The $5 deal rivals all of New Zealand’s biggest supermarkets, with the popular Farmer Brown branded eggs currently selling for $8.39 at Countdown and New World and $7.59 at Pak’nSave, according to the supermarkets’ websites.

“We’re focusing on bringing grocery prices down in a tough grocery market, and are striving to be the cheapest go-to for breakfast and lunchbox essentials for Kiwi families,” Epke said.

“We’re tackling the price of grocery essentials one-by-one – we’ve got $4.30 butter, $3 milk, $1.25 bread, $8 cheese and now $5 eggs as another key staple. The price of food is a huge challenge that Kiwi families are navigating and they deserve to have access to the essentials at reliable and affordable prices.”

The $8 cheese refers to a 700g block of Mainland Colby or Edam, which costs $13.90 at Countdown and $13.99 at New World stores.

The latest move by The Warehouse has been welcomed by Consumer NZ, which says lower pricing drives competition.

“New Zealand has been crying out for more players to take on the supermarket duopoly, so we’re pleased to see that The Warehouse is not only offering sharp pricing to their customers but on staples like eggs,” head of advocacy and research Gemma Rasmussen said.

While The Warehouse would be making little money off the sale, it would be likely to bring in more customers.

“This is called a ‘loss leader’, where, despite making a potentially small profit on this ‘leading’ product, The Warehouse will attract shoppers to their store, who will be likely to pick up other pantry essentials or fresh produce on their way to the checkout,” she said.

There are now 22 Warehouse locations that stock fresh produce. (file image) Photo:

It is the latest move in The Warehouse’s attempts to rival the supermarket duopoly after launching a fresh produce trial in six selected stores around the country in February last year.

“In March last year, we wanted to see whether The Warehouse’s expansion into selling fresh produce has led to more competition for the surrounding supermarkets. While prices at New World and Countdown didn’t move much, we did notice a drop in prices at Pak’nSave on some products,” Rasmussen said.

There are now 22 Warehouse locations that stock fresh produce.

The $5 Farmer Brown deal is available in every Warehouse store, with a limit of six cartons per customer.

“The supermarket duopoly is very comfortable with the status quo. We’re not, and we’ll continue to push to make groceries more affordable for Kiwi families,” Warehouse Group chief executive Nick Grayston said last year.

In September last year, The Warehouse Group squared off against giant health food brand Sanitarium after discussions that it would stop supplying Weet-Bix because of a shortage of the product.

Grayston said it was a sign of the supermarket duopoly getting what it wanted.

Sanitarium said it would reinstate supplies of Weet-Bix to The Warehouse after controversy erupted following the news.

“To supply the retailer, the company has decided to reduce allocation into export markets to release the capacity to supply Weet-Bix to The Warehouse,” Sanitarium said at the time.

– This story was first published by the New Zealand Herald.

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Woman charged with murder after man found dead in Hamilton



A 45-year-old woman has been charged with murder after a man died at a house in Hamilton early on Wednesday morning.

Police were called to an address on Cranmer Close, Rototuna at 2am, Detective Senior Sergeant Scott Neilson said.

There they found the man in a critical condition. Attempts by police and ambulance staff to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.

Police earlier said they would have a “significant” presence in the area while inquiries were made.

Neilson said the man and woman knew each other.

“Police are speaking with those involved and are offering support to the victim’s family.”


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Malaysia’s 6th humanitarian aid to Palestine to depart Cairo tomorrow



Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the shipment will consist of 1,358 tonnes of essential aid, including medical supplies, hygiene kits, food provisions and essential items for infants.

“This special mission involves the delivery of 100 containers from Malaysia to Gaza, coordinated through the Malaysian Consultative Council of Islamic Organisations (Mapim) warehouse in Cairo, Egypt.

“I urge Malaysians to continue their unwavering support for the Palestinians, especially in light of the ongoing developments in Gaza. Our commitment to this cause should be steadfast, driven by principles rather than solely religious affiliations,” he told reporters at a press conference today.

This mission will include 20 delegation members who will spend 10 days in Cairo, making preparations and overseeing the delivery process to the Rafah border. The delegation was expected to return three days before Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

Zahid, who is the patron of this mission, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will engage with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to facilitate the delegation’s passage through the Sinai Peninsula and the Rafah border.

Anwar, who was expected to attend an event in Pahang today, made an unexpected appearance at the flag-off event to demonstrate his solidarity with the mission.

Present were Mara chairman Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, National Disaster Management Agency director-general Datuk Khairul Shahril Idrus and the mission’s chief commissioner Sany Araby Datuk Abdul Alim Araby.

Zahid also announced that Umno will donate RM1 million to the mission.

This humanitarian aid was made possible through collaborative funding from six non-governmental organisations, spearheaded by the Mapim, alongside Cinta Gaza Malaysia, Iman Care Malaysia and Pertubuhan Glokal Ihsan Malaysia, as well as international organisations Federation of Islamic Associations New Zealand and the Al-Khair Foundation from the United Kingdom.


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Chocolate prices expected to rise



By Maytaal Angel and Maxwell Akalaare Adombila, Reuters

Major African cocoa plants in Ivory Coast and Ghana have stopped or cut processing because they cannot afford to buy beans, four trading sources said, meaning chocolate prices around the world are likely to soar.

Chocolate-makers have already increased prices to consumers, after three years of poor cocoa harvests, with a fourth expected, in the two countries that produce nearly 60 percent of the world’s cocoa.

Cocoa prices have more than doubled over the last year, scaling numerous all-time highs.

“We need massive demand destruction to catch up with the supply destruction,” Tropical Research Services’ Steve Wateridge, a world expert on cocoa, said.

Chocolate-makers cannot produce chocolate using raw cocoa and rely on processors to turn beans into butter and liquor that can be made into chocolate.

But the processors say they cannot afford to buy the beans.

A cacao is harvested for the beans inside which are fermented to make chocolate.

Photo: RNZ/Supplied

State-controlled Ivorian bean processor Transcao, one of the country’s nine major plants, said it had stopped buying beans because of their price.

It said it was still processing from stock, but did not say what capacity it was running at. Two industry sources said the plant was almost idle.

They asked not to be named because they were not authorised to speak publicly on the issue.

One of the two sources said more major state run plants could shut soon in top grower Ivory Coast, which produces nearly half the world’s cocoa.

The same two sources said even global trader Cargill struggled to source beans for its major processing plant in Ivory Coast, halting operations for about a week last month. Cargill did not respond to a request for comment.

In No. 2 cocoa grower Ghana, most of its eight plants, including state-owned Cocoa Processing Company (CPC), have repeatedly suspended work for weeks since the season started in October, two separate industry sources said.

CPC said it is operating at about 20 percent of capacity because of the shortage of beans.

Disruption at the farm gate

The price rally has derailed a long-established mechanism for global cocoa trade, through which farmers sell beans to local dealers who sell them on to processing plants or global traders.

Those traders then sell beans or cocoa products – butter, powder and cocoa liquor – to global chocolate giants such as Nestle, Hershey, and Mondelez.

In normal times, the market is heavily regulated – traders and processors purchase beans from local dealers up to a year in advance at pre-agreed prices. Local regulators then set lower farmgate prices that farmers can charge for beans.

However, in times of shortage like this year, the system breaks down – local dealers often pay farmers a premium to the farmgate price to secure beans.

The dealers then sell the beans on the spot market at higher prices instead of delivering them at pre-agreed prices.

As global traders rush to purchase those beans at any price to meet their obligations with the chocolate firms, local processors are often left short of beans.

Ivorian and Ghanian authorities normally try to protect local plants by issuing them with cheap loans or by limiting volumes of beans that global traders can purchase.

This year, however, plants are not getting the cocoa they pre-ordered and cannot afford to buy at higher spot prices.

Already, chocolate-makers have raised prices. US retail stores charged 11.6 percent more for chocolate products last year compared with 2022, data from market research firm Circana shows.

The International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) expects global cocoa production will fall by 10.9percent to 4.45 million metric tons this season.

Grindings – a measure of demand – will fall by 4.8 percent to 4.78 million as processors struggle to buy beans, and supply less butter at a higher price to chocolate-makers, which in turn raise prices.

The supply-demand mismatch will leave the market with a deficit of 374,000 tons this season, up from 74,000 tons last season, according to the ICCO.

This means processors and chocolate firms will have to draw on cocoa stocks to fully cover their needs. The ICCO expects global cocoa stocks to fall to their lowest in 45 years by the season end.

Wateridge of Tropical Research said the cocoa market could post another deficit next season based on the severity of bean disease in West Africa.

The market has not seen four successive years of deficit since the late 1960s, ICCO data shows.

– This story was first published by Reuters

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