The price of lettuce has finally dropped at major supermarkets from soaring highs of A$11.99 (US$8.27) to a modest A$2.50 (US$1.72), as vegetable stocks return, according to a report by The Guardian.
Prices have decreased as the availability of produce has increased, particularly in areas recovering from flooding, explained Shaun Lindhe, National Manager of Communications at AusVeg.
“Over the last few months, we have seen good conditions in many vegetable-growing regions, as well as increased supply from growers heavily impacted by severe floods earlier in the year – particularly southern Queensland, which is a major vegetable production region in the winter months,” he said.
“This is resulting in an increased supply and availability of vegetables, including fresh lettuce in the market,” he added.
A Woolworths spokesperson said the cost of lettuce had decreased to A$2.90 (US$2.00) across New South Wales stores, along with 400 other “springtime grocery staples”. At Coles a head of iceberg was retailing at A$2.50 (US$1.72) each, while at Aldi lettuce was hovering at about A$2.99 (US$2.06).
Lindhe said he expected supermarkets would lower prices for other vegetable lines as availability rose in spring and summer.
On one hand, the price drop is welcome news for consumers anticipating the expiration of the fuel excise cut at the end of September.
For farmers, however, cost of production pressures are likely to continue for “some time” despite shoppers’ relief.
“The price of vegetables on the shelf is not the return that growers receive at the farmgate,” Lindhe said.
“Global economic factors and supply chain issues are resulting in increased costs of critical farm inputs, including fertiliser, fuel and chemicals, as well as wages pressure due to the shortage of labour in Australia.
“Local growers and their communities … are continuing to face significant hardship.”
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