Lots less sugar and more fruit were sold through remote community stores in the past year.
A total of 7.6 tonnes of sugar – the equivalent of eight Land Cruiser ute loads – was removed from the diets of customers compared to the previous year with customers buying less sugary drinks and choosing the healthier water and diet options.
An extra 24 tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables were sold on the previous year.
The proportion of sugary drinks sold through the stores fell by 6.6 per cent while water sales rose 3.38 per cent.
A record of more than 400 Indigenous staff were employed across 38 remote community stores managed by Outback Stores in the 2017–18 financial year.
Outback Stores operates in Barunga, Beswick, Jilkminggan and Ngukurr in the Katherine region and 24 stores across the NT.
It is owned by the Federal Government but plans to become financially self sufficient after recording an operating loss of $147,155 in the past year from total sales of $80.2 million.
A total of 85 per cent all employees in stores identifying as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders is the highest number since Outback Stores was established in 2006.
Outback Stores chief operating officer Evan Ralph said real employment opportunities at stores in remote communities across the Northern Territory, Western and South Australia had profound benefits for the local Indigenous people.
“We have been working really hard on engaging more people with work,” Mr Ralph said.
“Earning an income, learning new skills and making a positive contribution to the community are all really important.
“We are also seeing more talented young people in communities wanting to pursue a career in retail and with the future goal of becoming a store manager.”
Outback Stores’ strong focus on working with communities to improve health and nutrition outcomes saw some fantastic results this year.
Chief executive officer Michael Borg said both results represent Outback Stores’ commitment to making healthier choices easier in remote community stores.
“We are seeing great results from communities where store directors are developing, implementing and leading healthy strategies with our support,” Mr Borg said.
“The key for Outback Stores is to continue providing education to the community on making healthy choices and empowering directors to make good decisions.”
Outback Stores operates on not-for profit principles and aims make a positive difference in the health, employment and economy of remote Indigenous communities, by providing quality, sustainable retail stores.
The annual report states the cost of foods in remote stores is an ongoing issue with higher costs of supplying food in remote areas.
“Outback Stores continues working with communities and suppliers to ensure staple foods such as fruit, vegetables and meat are affordable,” the report said.
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