Coles milk sales limit puts Uncle Edy's at risk



The jobs of eight workers are threatened as Coles is providing Uncle Edy’s only a fraction of the 140 litres of milk a week it needs for making coffee and icecream.


Owner Darren Burton (pictured) says he’s been buying that quantity, including some from Woolworths, for seven and a half years but he is now trapped in the supply restrictions, four litres of milk a day per buyer, to combat Coronavirus panic buying.


Mr Burton says he has pleaded with Coles, making the point he is only trying to buy what he always has been, but to no avail. He says the supply trouble is adding to the drop in tourism numbers, youth crime and the burden of a huge rent for his cafe at the southern end of the Mall – $2000 a week.


He may need to end the practice over many years of selling coffee to people in uniform – including ambulance crews, nurses and police – for half price.


Coles, when asked to comment, made no reference to the problems encountered by Mr Burton but issued a statement that said in part:


We have opened three new distribution centres in the Territory. We’re also recruiting up to 50 new casual team members across our eight stores in the NT to help replenish shelves and serve our customers as quickly as possible.”



  1. How about Independent Grocers, Smimac or another local wholesaler who supply other businesses in town? Can they be used to supply milk to this business at a wholesale price?

  2. So you require 20 litres of milk per day (140 litres per week).
    You state you have eight workers that may lose jobs. All you have to do is five of your workers buy four litres of milk per day.
    Problem solved.
    Actually what is the problem?

  3. Anonymous: We do use wholesalers but the costs are much higher than Coles and Woolworths.
    In the eight years that we have been open we have not increased our cost on coffee.
    I was informed by Coles management today that at this stage the only way I can get more than two milks a day is to send different staff members through the supermarket to get two each.
    We then can send them to Woolworths and get two more each, we are only getting what we need to stay open.
    Our quantity has not increased so I don’t understand the restrictions on milk.
    I am trying to keep my staff employed and keep a little bit of normality in Alice.
    Soon as my customers’ and staff’s health is at risk or the authorities tell me to close we will shut.
    I plead with customers to support local businesses and to go on as normal as possible at this stage.

  4. Scotty: Over half our employees are kids so you want me to make them walk to Coles to get milk every day? We have three to four employed each day not eight. I wonder, do you work in the public service where costs and job cuts are not a concern? I’m trying to keep my business open and staff employed.


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