There’s an ongoing thread on the Coles Facebook page with a curious pattern regarding Agar Agar.
Users ask a simple question in this threat – do you stock Agar Agar? Unfortunately for those users, the response is a simple and repeated NO, but they will let the merchandising team know there is demand for the product. This thread has been going since the 9th of August 2013 and the latest comment from Natasha K is from the 20th of June 2020, almost seven years later! So what’s the deal with Coles and Agar Agar?
What is Agar Agar?
Agar Agar, otherwise known as Agar, is a jelly-like substance which is produced from algae. Agar Agar is commonly used as a gelatine substitute for vegans wanting to avoid gelatine as it is an animal product.
Agar Agar is traditionally used in Asian cuisines and is also well known for its neutral flavour profile and zero calories, making it a popular choice for those dieting.
Whilst it’s similar to gelatine, Agar Agar is not a direct substitute. Agar Agar will provide a more firm solid texture compared to the smooth texture of gelatine. It is also far more concentrated in its form, with Agar requiring only an eighth of the product to produce a similar result.
Due to all the benefits of Agar Agar it makes sense for many shoppers to look for it on Coles shelves and to ask why it isn’t stocked when they can’t find this versatile ingredient.
Why won’t Coles stock Agar Agar?
We can’t say definitively, but it’s likely due to the specialised nature of the product. The main supermarkets Coles and Woolworths have been working towards restricting the number of unique item lines in their stores as a means of streamlining processes, reducing waste and increasing overall profitability. The downside with this kind of industrial level food distribution is that unique or specialised product lines become harder to find as they instead cater to the larger market.
If you wanted to instead find Agar Agar at a Coles alternative, checking your independent grocers or health food stores is likely to be more fruitful.
What can you do to help Coles stock Agar Agar?
The best thing you can do is leave feedback with Coles, either via their websites feedback form or by joining in on the Facebook page’s epic thread. You can do this by clicking on their page and searching for “Agar Agar”, or looking up “Coles Agar Agar” in your browser search bar.