OPINION

ENOUGH Dick, seriously. Itís getting old now.

Aldi didnít do in your look-a-like version of Vegemite, neither did imports. The reason your food company failed was because people didnít want to buy your products.

It really is that simple.

Given a choice between Vegemite and Dick Smithís Ozemite, Australians voted for the original, not the knock-off spread with the same colours and practically the same name.

On Thursday, Smith made what he said was the ďsaddest decision of his lifeĒ to close Dick Smith Foods. The firm made a collection of Dick Smith branded products from Ozemite and Ozenuts peanut butter to Bush Foods cereals that, letís be honest, Australians never really warmed to.

Why? Well listen to Smith and itís all German supermarket Aldiís fault because the supermarket chain ďbasically forced us out of businessĒ.

ďIím closing it down now when times are good,Ē Smith said. ďItís a decision forced on me because most people just want the cheapest prices, and the cheapest prices will always come from overseas.Ē

Aldi is to blame. The shoppers are to blame. The only person whose fault it isnít, it seems, is Smith himself. But surely, he must now take some responsibility?

The reasons people buy what they buy are complex. Sure, price is a big factor, but price doesnít explain how the Australian owned A2 milk, which could not be described as cheap, has turned the dairy market upside down.

People have flocked to A2 for its marketing and health message.

Dick Smith marketed himself with aplomb, but isnít it possible he didnít do as good a job marketing his actual products?

Mr Smith said the ďnail in the coffinĒ was learning Aldi had been voted the most trusted brand in Australia.

Right, so to be clear, a survey made you shut down your entire company? Yet Woolworths ó which wasnít even in the top 10 most trusted brands ó managed to make a none-too-shabby $1.5 billion last year. They donít seem to be closing down.

As for the fears about foreign foods, that seems a bit redundant too. The firm was set up to create true blue versions of Aussie food favourites owned by overseas giants ó think US company Kraftís custodianship of Vegemite for instance.

But now Vegemite, and what was Kraft peanut butter, are back in Australian hands and part of Bega Cheese. Just as dinky-di as Dick then. In the process, the entire raison díÍtre of Ozemite and Ozenuts has vanished.

Smith never gave shoppers enough other reasons to pick up his brands besides the incessant cries to ďbuy AustralianĒ.

When it comes to food, heís been a one-trick pony and shoppers are bored of the trick.

Indeed, he became too associated with the brand. And thatís dangerous if you decide to take on a political role. Witness this weekís demise of the Ivanka Trump fashion line. Perhaps people who didnít agree with Smithís strident views on limiting immigration and association with Pauline Hanson then gave his spreads a wide berth too.

He actually gave many people a reason NOT to buy his foods.

Mr Smith rails against Aldi ó they are a tough competitor ó but look closely at his products and they have some very Aldi-like qualities. They look just like big brands. Ozemite apes the red and yellow of Vegemite; while his jams bear a striking resemblance to the French St Dalfour jam.

Mr Smithís plan seems to have been to make his products as similar as possible to big brands, some foreign owned, amp up their Aussie credentials and hope weíd all come flocking.

Instead, Australia seems to have said, ďThanks but Iíll stick with the brand I know.Ē

Thatís not to say Smith hasnít highlighted some of the less appealing traits of Aldi. These include its secrecy and, because itís a family-owned firm (unlike Coles and Woolies) it doesnít file full financials.

But to suggest that everything Aldi does only benefits a reclusive family holed up somewhere near Dusseldorf is wrong. Just ask all the Aussie farmers supplying Aldi ó more than the number supplying Dick Smith Foods Iíd guess.

The demise of Dick Smith Foods, and the jobs of the three people who work for the company directly and yes hundreds of others in firms that supply to it, is sad. A competitor has left the supermarket shelves.

Yet in the decades since Smithís products have been available, other Aussie-owned brands have flourished ó be that five:am yoghurts, Beerenberg jams or Maggie Beerís range including stock, oils and pastes.

Maybe rather than blaming others for his companyís demise, Mr Smith could look to how these Aussie brands have thrived.

The answer is that, unlike Smith, they havenít simply berated shoppers for having the sheer cheek to not buy their products. Rather, they gave consumers a positive reason to purchase.

Blame Aldi if you will Dick, but maybe some of the blame lies a bit closer to home.