2024 Supermarket inquiry announced by ACCC

Amid surging concern about the cost of living, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission announced in January 2024 that it… Read More

2023 Some KFC outlets go cashless

Some customers weren't happy, but in 2023 a number of KFC outlets moved to cashless sales only. According to the… Read More

2022 Iceberg lettuce prices soar

In mid-2022, vegetable prices in Australia climbed steeply. In particular, iceberg lettuce prices made the news, with The Guardian reporting… Read More

2022 Soft plastics recycling program falls over

We've been putting our bottles, cans, paper and rigid plastic containers in the recycling bin for decades, but soft plastics… Read More

2022 Food supply chains fail owing to COVID

As Australia's 90+ per cent fully vaccinated population headed into 2022, hoping for a break from COVID-related dramas, a new… Read More

2021 Coles ditches single-use plastic tableware

From July 1 2021, Coles withdrew single-use plastic tableware from all its stores across Australia. The initiative, which had been… Read More

2020 7-Eleven mini store in high-rise

In July 2020, the convenience store chain opened an 8sqm store on the 27th floor of a high-rise office building… Read More

2020 Coronavirus prompts panic buying

In March 2020, in an unprecedented wave of panic buying, supermarket customers cleared the shelves of non-perishable foods including canned… Read More

2018 Needles in strawberries sabotage

In September 2018 a 21-year-old man was rushed to hospital in Queensland after swallowing a sewing needle that was embedded… Read More

2018 Single-use plastic bags banned. Or not.

From 1 July 2018, the two major supermarket chains planned to ban single-use plastic bags at the checkouts. On the… Read More

2016 Our favourite supermarket brands

A survey commissioned by Canstar Blue revealed a list of supermarket brands Australians said they couldn’t live without. As the… Read More

2015 Voluntary Supermarket Code of Conduct

In March 2015 Aldi was the first of the major supermarket chains to sign up to a new voluntary Supermarket… Read More

2014 Woolworths supports SPC Ardmona

In a PR triumph, supermarket chain Woolworths announced a five-year deal with struggling Victorian fruit packer SPC Ardmona to supply… Read More

2014 Google Streetview inside Coles

The Coles store in Sydney's Broadway became the first supermarket in Australia to use Google Business Photos.  Google Streetview inside… Read More

2013 Weekly shop a thing of the past

Research conducted for Woolworths by Bernard Salt of KPMG showed that Australians' shopping habits had changed significantly over the past… Read More

2013 Food retailing worth $141.4 billion

According to ‘Australian Food Statistics’, a report produced by the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) in 2013,… Read More

2013 Corner stores on the wane

In 2013, the Australian industry research group BIS Shrapnel reported a 34% decrease in the number of corner stores between… Read More

2010 Online grocery sales gain momentum

Coles and Woolworths saw their online grocery sales double in 2010, suggesting that a trend that got off to a… Read More

2010 House brands increasing

The major supermarket chains introduced house brands in the 1970s but these were initially sold on price. They were often… Read More

2009 Domino’s fast food app

Domino's, who pioneered home delivery of pizza in Australia, released its first fast food app in 2009. The app allowed customers to… Read More

2009 South Australia bans plastic supermarket bags

South Australia was the first Australian state to ban lightweight plastic supermarket bags, phasing in the new laws from 1… Read More

2008 Australia shopping with plastic

By 2008, approximately 13 million credit cards  and 28 million debit cards were on issue in Australia. Visa said the… Read More

2005 Farmers’ markets turn over $40 million

At the second National Australian Farmers' Markets Conference in Albury Wodonga the first substantive Australian research into farmers' markets was… Read More

2003 Australian Farmers’ Markets Association formed

The driving force behind the formation of the Australian Farmers' Markets Association, and its first President, was food writer and… Read More

2003 Fuel dockets in supermarkets

Woolworths first became active in the petrol market in 1996, with a Woolworths Plus Petrol station in Dubbo, New South… Read More

2003 Coles Bay bans plastic shopping bags

Coles Bay has a permanent population of around 200, and is located on the edge of the Freycinet National Park… Read More

2001 Aldi arrives in Australia

The German chain Aldi opened its first Australian store in Sydney in 2001 and by 2004 had 54 stores across… Read More

1999 Dick Smith Foods, the Aussie way

In 1999, entrepreneur Dick Smith launched Dick Smith Foods. The move was prompted by the increasing foreign ownership of iconic… Read More

1996 Sunday trading throughout Victoria

Sunday trading was introduced on ten Sundays per year in 1991. In 1992, stores in the Melbourne CBD were permitted… Read More

1996 Woolworths moves into petrol

Woolworths was the first of the supermarket giants to move into the fuel business.  The first Woolworths petrol outlet carried… Read More

1995 Sydney’s first organic food market

British immigrant Elizabeth Taylor opened Sydney’s first organic food market at French’s Forest in Sydney, concentrating on locally grown food.… Read More

1994 Fly Buys program introduced

Fly Buys was originally a joint venture between Coles Myer, Shell and the National Australia Bank, offering flights in return… Read More

1992 Greengrocers still sell most vegies

As I was growing up, in the 1950s, food retailers specialised. The small shopping strip around the corner in Malvern,… Read More

1989 Heart Foundation Tick launched

The Heart Foundation’s Pick the Tick food approval program was designed to help Australian shoppers make healthier food choices. Companies… Read More

1987 The Fresh Food People

In 1987 Woolworths launched its new tag line  - The Fresh Food People. The line was created by advertising agency… Read More

1987 Saturday afternoon trading in Victoria

In 1987, retail trading hours in Victoria were extended to include Saturday afternoon trading, a move that changed the whole… Read More

1987 Mindil Beach Markets begin

The Mindil Beach markets in Darwin were briefly located in the Darwin Mall, but after protests from city traders were… Read More

1986 Fringe Benefits Tax introduced

The federal Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) was introduced on 1 July 1986. FBT was payable on restaurant meals, which were… Read More

1985 Woolworths buys Safeway

By  1985, American-owned Safeway chain operated 126 supermarkets across Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland. Woolworths acquired the chain, which put… Read More

1984 Retail trading hours extended in NSW

Retail trading hours were extended to allow all stores in New South Wales to trade on Saturday afternoons. This largely benefited… Read More

1984 Debit cards and EFTPOS

In Australia, Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale (EFTPOS) was first trialled by Woolworths and Westpac bank at BP… Read More

1983 Hot chip vending machine

The now-defunct Precision Fry Foods Pty Ltd claimed to have invented Australia's first hot chip machine. It operated in Robe,… Read More

1982 Coles trials scanning

Coles trialled scanning of barcodes at checkouts for the first time in 1982 but it was some years before the… Read More

1982 First supermarket to scan barcodes

The first supermarket to adopt barcode scanning in Australia was SIMS supermarket in Melbourne’s western suburbs. It's not recorded which… Read More

1980 Michel’s Patisserie founded in Sydney

Was there a Michel behind Michel's Patisserie? And was he actually French? The coffee and cake chain, now known just… Read More

1977 Australia’s first 7-Eleven

The first 7-Eleven convenience store opened in the Melbourne suburb of Oakleigh on 24 August 1977  and within a year… Read More

1976 Darwin’s oldest market opens

In Australia's southern cities, our markets have long histories. The Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne opened in 1878 while the… Read More

1974 Bar code scanning introduced in USA

On June 26, at 8:01 a.m, Sharon Buchanan, a check-out operator at Marsh's supermarket in Troy, Ohio scanned the first… Read More

1974 Bankcard launched

The  Bankcard brand was shared by Australian financial institutions and was Australia's first generally available credit card. At launch, banks… Read More

1973–74 Supermarkets reach 50% share

By the early '70s supermarkets had a 50% share of the grocery market, a substantial increase since 1968-69, when a… Read More

1971 Big Pineapple opens in Queensland

Possibly inspired by the Big Banana, which opened in 1964, the Big Pineapple opened in 1971 at Woombye in Queensland’s… Read More

1971 Harris Farm Markets founded

With around 30 stores in New South Wales and three in Queensland  (as of 2024) Harris Farm Markets is a… Read More

1969 Australia’s first ATM

Australia's first ATM, or Automatic Telling Machine, installed by the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney in 1969 was not the kind of ATM… Read More

1969 First Australian Kmart store

Kmart was originally a joint venture between Coles and the S.S. Kresge Company, which operated Kmart in the USA .… Read More

1969 Self-service dominates grocery sales

By this time, 70% of Victorian metropolitan grocery sales were self-service. Smaller stores formed buying groups to remain competitive. Confectionery… Read More

1966 Decimal currency introduced

On 14 February, 1966, Australia changed from a monetary system using pounds, shillings and pence to decimal currency - dollars… Read More

1965 Australia’s first food court

These days, we don't just go to shopping centres to shop. We go to eat. Shopping centre food courts can… Read More

1963 First NSW retail grocery group

The Davids wholesale operation put together the first professionally organised voluntary retail grocery group in NSW. It involved Supa Valu and… Read More

1963 Safeway supermarkets arrive in Victoria

The American supermarket company, Safeway, purchased three Pratt’s supermarkets in Victoria in 1963. The first was on the site of… Read More

1962 Coles Farmland brand appears

House brands have become an increasing focus for supermarkets in Australia. The first Coles house brand appeared as early as… Read More

1962 Coles New World Supermarket is launched

Coles launched “A new world of shopping”  with the opening of the first Coles New World   Supermarket in Frankston,… Read More

1960 Myer’s Chadstone Shopping Centre opens

In 1960, Myer completed the Chadstone Shopping Centre 12  kilometres from the centre of Melbourne.  “Chaddy”, as it soon came… Read More

1960 First Woolworths supermarket

The first Woolworths supermarket was opened at Warrawong in New South Wales in May 1960. It offered a range of… Read More

1960 First Coles supermarket

The first Coles supermarket - a freestanding suburban supermarket complete with carpark -  opened in the Melbourne suburb of North… Read More

1960 CHOICE magazine launched

The Australasian Consumers' Association was formed in 1959, at the end of a decade that had seen an increasing focus… Read More

1959 Westfield Place opens in Blacktown.

Frank Lowy and John Saunders were two post-war immigrants who initially set up a delicatessen business together in Blacktown in… Read More

1958 Coles moves into groceries with Coles Dickins

Coles had always been a variety store, but in 1958 the company began its move into the grocery business. It… Read More

1957 1700 self-service grocers in Australia

By 1957, there were  1700 self-service grocers in Australia.  Although only about 7% of them could be termed supermarkets, these… Read More

1957 Woolworths’ first food store

Woolworths' first food store was at Dee Why in Sydney. It was a self-service section at the rear of a… Read More

1957 First Australian shopping mall

Chermside Drive-In Shopping Centre in Brisbane was the first Australian shopping mall. It was opened on 31 May 1957 by… Read More

1956 Tom the Cheap opens in Perth

Inspired by overseas retail trends, Thomas Wardle opened Australia’s first discount grocery store in North Perth. As Tom the Cheap,… Read More

1948 Price control referendum

During World War II almost every aspect of Australian life was under the control of the Federal Government, including wages,… Read More

1948 First all-Australian Holden car

The first Holden or, at least, the first all-Australian Holden, was unveiled by Prime Minister Ben Chifley at the GM-H… Read More

1947 Returned soldiers open supermarket

In 1947, Change Over, the magazine published by the Ministry of Post War Reconstruction, reported on a group of ex-R.A.A.F.… Read More

1941 Franklins founded

The discount supermarket chain, Franklins, was founded in 1941 in Sydney and went through many changes of ownership over the… Read More

1938 First Australian supermarket?

Although a number of grocery chains were already offering self-service, it seems that in 1938 Farr's of Newcastle, New South… Read More

1933 The term ‘supermarket’ is first used

Albers Super Market in Cincinatti,USA,was the first to use the term ‘supermarket ’.  William Albers, former president of Kroger Grocery… Read More

1932 Australia’s first milk bar

The Black and White 4d. Milk Bar, in Martin Place, Sydney was opened by Mick Adams in November 1932. He developed… Read More

1930 World’s first supermarket

King Kullen, the Price Wrecker, opened in 1930 in Long Island, New York. King Kullen is recognized by the Smithsonian… Read More

1930 First Coles cafeteria

For several generations of Australians, a visit to Coles Cafeteria was the highlight of a trip to the city.  Coles'… Read More

1923 First Australian domestic refrigerator

The first commercially available, Australian-made domestic refrigerator to operate without ice was produced by Edward Hallstrom in 1923. It used kerosene… Read More

1923 Brisbane Cash and Carry opens

Brisbane Cash and Carry  (BCC) was among the first Australian self service grocery stores, opened by Claud Archibald Fraser in 1923.… Read More

1921 Flake on the market in Melbourne

Writing in The Argus in 1922, Mr F Lewis of the Fisheries Department sought to persuade Victorians to eat gummy… Read More

1916 World’s first self-service grocery store

The world’s first self-service grocery store, Piggly Wiggly, opened in Memphis Tennessee. Clarence Saunders, the founder of Piggly Wiggly, claimed to… Read More

1899 Australia’s first health food store?

In 1899, the Sanitarium Health Food Co. opened a shop in Maitland, New South Wales, selling goods produced in their… Read More

1884 King & Godfree store in Carlton, Victoria

The story of King & Godfree, Melbourne's most famous delicatessen, is a tale of three owners: the Richards Brothers, Messrs.… Read More

1878 Queen Victoria Market opens in Melbourne

The Queen Victoria Market was built on the site of Melbourne's first cemetery. It is now the largest open air… Read More

1872 First Sydney fish market

The first Sydney fish market was built by the City Council and opened in 1872 at Forbes Street, Woolloomooloo.  Prior… Read More

1869 Adelaide Central Market opens

Trading began at the Adelaide Central Market in 1869, although the official opening took place the following year. First known… Read More

1866 South Melbourne market opens

Today, when travelling between Melbourne's inner suburbs is a matter of a few minutes in the car, it's hard to… Read More

1865 First purpose-built Melbourne fish market

In 1865, a purpose-built Melbourne fish market was opened on the corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets - the site… Read More

1864 William Bibo’s Gundagai Bakery

The Gundagai Bakery claims to be the oldest bakery in Australia. A sign outside the store carries a potted history.… Read More

1854 Australia’s oldest bakery

There are a number of businesses claiming to be Australia's oldest bakery. Among them is Balfours Bakery of South Australia,… Read More

1852 First trade tokens made in Australia

Trade tokens were unofficial coins produced by merchants and traders and were accepted by local businesses at their face value.… Read More

1841 Melbourne’s first official market

When surveyor Robert Hoddle laid out the grid for the new settlement of Melbourne in 1837, he set aside a… Read More

1814 Holey dollar replaces rum as currency

In the early days British currency, or sterling, was in short supply in New South Wales. Much of it was… Read More

1806 First Sydney market

In the early days of the colony, produce from farms at Kissing Point and Parramatta was unloaded and sold at… Read More

1797 Australia’s first coin

The first coin to become official currency in New South Wales was the cartwheel penny, minted in London in 1797… Read More

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