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Amazon moves into food with range of pantry staples

Amazon has added a new range of food and beverage products to its retail and marketplace offering in Australia, marking the 27th category since it launched last December, but potentially the most consequential in its quest to grab a larger share of the retail market.

Amazon’s ‘pantry range’ includes thousands of items from over 400 local and international brands, such as Arnott’s, Milo, Uncle Tobys, Masterfoods, T2, Carman’s, Sanitarium, Oreo, Powerade and M&Ms.

The move would seem to pose a significant threat to Coles and Woolworths, which have long had a stranglehold on many of these brands’ access to Australian shoppers, although consumers will not be able to completely replace their weekly shop with Amazon yet, since the launch does not include AmazonFresh, the online retailer’s range of fresh produce, meat, dairy and other grocery products.

Still, there is reason to think that the launch reflects Amazon’s ambitions for the Australian market. Following the company’s acquisition of US grocery chain Whole Foods in the US last June, Brittain Ladd, who until recently led the expansion of AmazonFresh globally, wrote a LinkedIn post explaining the rationale behind Amazon’s focus on food.

“Food is a must-have for all consumers. The retailer that does the best job of meeting the grocery/food needs of consumers to the point where customers become loyal to the retailers brand, will provide that same retailer with an opportunity to sell additional products,” Ladd wote.

“If consumers turn to Amazon for groceries, Amazon will [incentivise] those customers to turn to Amazon for apparel, shoes, home furnishings, furniture, media, electronics, books, and other products and services.

“Utilising AI and analytics, Amazon will learn the individual shopping habits and needs of their customers to the point where soon, Amazon will be able to anticipate what customers require, especially when it comes to groceries.

“When combined with a last-mile delivery and distribution network capable of delivering groceries to customers faster than they can travel to shop for groceries on their own, this is when Amazon becomes unbeatable.”

In a statement accompanying the launch, Amazon Australia country manager Rocco Braeuniger said the company was “delighted” to bring pantry food and drinks to Australia and highlighted the convenience of the offering in combination with the company’s fast delivery.

Amazon Australia now offers over 80 million products.


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