White’s appointment comes after as Australia’s largest supermarket network based on store numbers – IGA and other independent grocery retailers – outlined plans to challenge the big two in the $102 billion grocery sector.
“The grocery environment in Australia and globally is undergoing significant and exciting change, driven by new entrants and new technologies and that is driving increased competition,” he said. “The retailers that make up the IGA family and other independents are well placed to accelerate change. I look forward to helping energise the independent grocery network.”
He previously ran Coca-Cola Amatil in Australasia for the past 12 years and chaired the Australian Food and Beverage Council for three years. Recently, he was working under the international operations of global coffee business Keurig. White will join the representative group established by IGA and Foodland retailers to work with wholesale parent Metcash’s network of suppliers.
According to IBISWorld data, the supermarket industry is seen to grow by 2.2 per cent in 2017-18, largely due to rising demand for premium food products, including organic fruit and vegetables. This follows on from a 0.6 per cent decline in real terms in 2016-17, after a period of heavy discounting by the major supermarket chains.
Australian supermarket Coles’ market share is expected to reach 30.3 per cent at the end of 2017-18.
German discount grocer Aldi currently has over 500 stores across Australia and its ongoing expansion is expected to earn the company 9.2 per cent of the supermarkets and grocery stores industry by the end of 2017-18.
Meanwhile, Metcash’s network of stores, like IGA, are continuing to suffer as Woolworths, Coles and Aldi compete strongly on price. Its market share is expected to total 7.4 per cent by the end of 2017-18.
Supermarket giant Woolworths gained market share for the first time in several years in 2016-17. IBISWorld expects that the trend will continue, with the company projected to account for 37.2 per cent of the industry by the end of 2017-18.