Grocery prices soar over supply glitch

Prices for fresh fruit and vegetables are expected to soar over the coming weeks as supply chain woes continue to affect supermarkets.

Prices for fresh fruit and vegetables are expected to soar over the coming weeks as supply chain gaps continue to affect all four supermarket giants.

Flooding in March and this month’s heavy rain across Australia’s east coast has disrupted regular growing conditions and closed some roads, causing further delays.

Lettuce, spinach, avocados, apples, strawberries and raspberries have been the hardest hit, with The Courier-Mail reporting some supermarkets in Queensland’s southeast having no supplies or selling stock at inflated prices.

Heirloom tomatoes were selling at $16 per kilo in some areas, according to the newspaper.

Woolworths, Coles, Aldi and IGA have apologised to customers, posting supply shortage notices over the weekend.

“We’re sorry if we are missing some of your usual products,” read a notice posted at Woolworths in Redland Bay over the weekend.

“This is due to unforeseen circumstances in our [distribution centre] that supplies this store. Deliveries continue to arrive regularly and we’re restocking as quickly as possible.”

A Coles spokeswoman told on Thursday that there were “a number of factors driving inflation for all retailers, including increases in the cost of raw materials, energy price rises, freight costs, extreme weather events and ongoing Covid impacts”.

“We are supporting our suppliers in areas impacted by the recent floods by visiting their sites to meet with growers and understand how it has impacted their individual operations, purchasing the product they have available, and continuing to work collaboratively with them as they re-establish operations,” she said.

“At Coles, our key focus is on keeping the cost of the family shop down and delivering great value to our customers.”

Woolworths fruit and vegetable general manager Paul Turner told The Courier-Mail price rises for some fresh produce including lettuces were expected to continue for four weeks due to the rain and floods.

“That caused a delay to regular growing conditions,” he said.

“Shoppers may notice a short supply and an impact on price in the short term until normal stock levels return in around four weeks, depending on weather conditions. Additionally, our pre-packaged spinach leaf salads have been hampered by heavy rain, however, growth and quality are already improving and will only get better over the next few weeks.”

Mr Turner said berry prices were not expected to come down until late June.

Aldi Australia customer interactions director Adrian Christie told The Courier-Mail the chain was “doing everything we can to bring the best quality Australian fruit and vegetables to our stores while continuing to support our growers through challenges”.

“Heavy rainfall continues to cause major disruption in key growing regions around the country and the growing season has been severely impacted by storms and hail, which is why some produce may look a little different on the outside,” he said.

Woolworths and Aldi declined to comment further when reached on Thursday.

IGA has been contacted for comment.


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