Elise Moncrieff, Business Manager, Lake Macquarie Free Range Eggs

When COVID19 first struck Australia in April 2020, our business was hit with an overnight business downturn of 30% due to all our restaurant customers having to shut shop and we really had no end in sight as to when this would change. Regardless of what was happening outside our farms, our hens did not know any different and were still producing the eggs every single day. At the same time, most of our local Woolworths stores had bare egg departments and it reignited the conversation of the pros and cons of putting our product on Woolworths shelves.

So back to the drawing board we went and after some insightful conversations with our contacts back at Woolworths, we really felt that they had the best interests of our business at heart. They put the ball in our court, letting us make decisions for our business which we did not think would be an option. For example, the stores we wanted to supply, the days we needed orders to be received, the days we deliver, the frequency of our stock going on the shelves to ensure its freshness and a big factor for us, our trading terms.

Following what felt like a whirlwind of paperwork, we officially had our first dozens hit the shelves of the 15 most local stores to our farm by the start of June 2020 and we have not looked back. The orders are automated and consistent, deliveries are done with ease and we have no problem communicating with the correct members of the Woolworths team at times when we have had to reach out.

All of our concerns we had, giving our family owned brand to a big business like Woolworths have been quashed, and it has allowed us to keep all 16 employees we have at their full capacity of employment throughout the COVID closures and even more so, it has allowed us to stick by our main goal, of not keeping eggs onsite for longer than 48 hours.

The Woolworths team have been great to us and have really made us realise there is a person behind every email and every phone call we have with them.

In 2021, we have fortunately been given further expansion opportunities to appear on Woolworths online as a 'click & collect' option and we are looking forward to expanding into more stores and growing with them in months to come.