If you were told the bread you were going to eat for lunch today was ‘baked’, you would assume that bread was ‘baked from scratch’, would you not? Baked from scratch as opposed to what, sprouted whole from seed? Willed into existence?
Defending against allegations of deceiving and misleading conduct brought forward by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Wesfarmers-owned supermarket Coles have told the Federal Court that their customers should not assume anything of the kind where their shady bread is concerned, because assuming the word ‘baked’ necessarily means ‘baked from scratch’ makes an ass out of you and Coles.
According to the Australian Financial Review [via Inside Retail], Coles needs to prove the average customer could or would assume ‘baked’ means something other than ‘baked from scratch’ in order to defend themselves against the ACCC’s allegations of misconduct, which were launched after Coles were revealed to be misleadingly labeling their bread products ‘baked today, sold today’. It was revealed earlier this month that where Coles are concerned the rules ordinarily governing time and space do not apply; ‘today’ does not necessarily mean ‘in the last 24 hours’ and instead means something like ‘par-baked, frozen and imported from Ireland in the last fortnight’.
Coles maintains however that widespread standard industry practices also employed by Woolworths and IGA supermarkets could prove relevant when determining if people believe bread sold in-house is baked ‘fresh’. How they’re going to prove that loaf than is another issue entirely.
If their defence is found to be as half-baked as their bread, Coles face potential fines of up to $1.1 million for each delicious breach.
Photo: Ian Waldie via Getty