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This week in FMCG

This week an Australian grocery unveiled an online grocery service while FMCG and retail giants faced major lawsuits. Catch up on the top stories from this week.

IGA rolled out national online grocery service

Metcash’s supermarket IGA has launched a national grocery delivery service. IGA Shop supplements the company’s existing online offer. Danielle Jenkinson, EGM Retail Channels, Metcash Food, said that IGA the company is “thrilled to be able to offer an online service from even more IGA stores across Australia and to further support our local communities”.

Coles slapped with claims of $200 mil in underpayments

Coles was hit by a class action lawsuit for allegedly owing current and former staff up to A$200 million in unpaid overtime. Adero Law is representing 150 current and former grocery staff members in the case. The law firm sees the issue could affect between 5000 and 9000 salaried staff. Coles said it set aside A$20 million to repay affected staff members in February but claimants of the class action said they were underpaid and were never contacted by the grocery. Coles said on ASX that it was reviewing the remuneration of award covered salaried team members is committed to finalising this review and remediating affected team members immediately.

McDonald’s accused of sexual harassment

McDonald’s faced an international lawsuit after it was accused of an alleged sexual harassment on a global scale. Australia’s Retail and Fast Food Workers Union said it supports the victims while the International Union of Foodworkers filed the lawsuit in the Netherlands, claiming sexual harassment is rampant in McDonald’s outlets around the world, including Australia. According to The Australian, the lawsuit states that there were cases of “attempted rape, indecent exposure, groping, and sexual offers” happening inside the fast food outlets worldwide.

J&J halted talc baby powder production in the US and Canada

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) announced it will stop selling its talc baby-powder in the US and Canada. Lawsuits are piling up over alleged asbestos contamination and this has led to a decline in sales. It stopped shipping hundreds of talc-based items to these countries after conducting a portfolio assessment related to COVID-19. J&J said it would wind down sales of the product, which makes up about 0.5 per cent of its US consumer health business, in the coming months, but retailers will continue to sell existing inventory. J&J blamed the declining demand in North America on changes in consumer habits which it said has been “fueled by misinformation around the safety of the product and a constant barrage of litigation advertising”.

China imposed hefty tax on Australian barley

Australian barley growers warned locals of the devastating impact to the local economy after China slapped an 80 per cent tariff on Australian barley imports. China’s Ministry of Commerce announced the tariffs after an 18-month investigation, stating that “there was dumping of imported barley from Australia and the domestic industry suffered substantial damage”. China imposed separate tariffs of 73.6 per cent for dumping allegations and 6.9 per cent over supposed government subsidies. Agriculture minister David Littleproud denied the dumping allegations and previously said that he wouldn’t rule out bringing the issue to the WTO. This move could take up to three years to reach a decision if Australia appeals.

That’s it for this week, Inside FMCG will be back with a news update on Monday morning.

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