Sweet releaf: lettuce price falls as Australian produce stocks rebound | supply chain crisis

The price of lettuce has finally dropped in major supermarkets from a high of $11.99 to a modest $2.50, as vegetable stocks return after months of supply chain problems.

Shaun Lindhe, national communications manager for AusVeg, said prices had come down as product availability increased, particularly in areas recovering from flooding.

“Over the past few months, we have seen good conditions in many vegetable growing regions, as well as increased supply from growers hit hard by severe flooding earlier in the year, particularly South Queensland, which is a major region of vegetable production in the winter months”, he said.

“This is resulting in increased supply and availability of vegetables, including fresh lettuce on the market.”

A Woolworths spokesman said the cost of the lettuce had dropped to $2.90 in NSW stores, along with 400 other “spring staples”.

At Coles, an iceberg head retailed for $2.50 each, while at Aldi, lettuce was around $2.99.

Lindhe said he expected supermarkets to lower prices on other vegetable lines as availability increases in spring and summer.

The drop in prices is good news for consumers who anticipate the expiration of the excise tax cut at the end of September.

The $3 billion cut, introduced by the previous federal government, saved consumers 22.1 cents for every liter of fuel they bought, saving a family with two cars who refueled once a week “about $30 a week.”

Marion Terrill, director of city programs for the Grattan Institute, said it was too early to predict how the lifting of the fuel excise tax would affect consumers in Bowser.

“The price of a liter of gasoline will go up 22 cents, but we don’t know on what basis, and the thing about gasoline prices is that they are historically very volatile,” he said.

“It would be a brave person to guess what is going to happen.”

Crude oil is down about 25 cents a liter from March highs and hovered around 100 cents on the dollar on Monday, similar to prices in 2011 and 2014.

“It’s come down very sharply, but it’s a volatile price,” Terrill said. “It may be that when it comes back to normal it’s not at a particularly noticeable level.”

While the rise in prices has been attributed to the war in Ukraine, Terrill said they began rising on December 1, 2021 for a variety of reasons, including the Northern Hemisphere winter and the rise of Covid lockdowns.

“If the government wants to alleviate the cost of living, the question is whether [the fuel excise] is a better way to do it or should they introduce a specific approach like increasing welfare payments,” he said.

“If your household is on a budget, you may appreciate relief on gas prices, but if you don’t drive, you’re not getting any help.

“Part of the reason it was selected in March is that it’s very prominent – ​​people walk past gas stations and see what the price is all the time. It is a price that people are aware of.”

For farmers, production cost pressures are likely to continue for “some time” despite relief from buyers.

“The price of vegetables on the shelf is not the return that growers receive on the farm,” Lindhe said.

“Global economic factors and supply chain issues are resulting in rising costs for critical agricultural inputs, including fertilizers, fuels and chemicals, as well as pressure on wages due to labor shortages in the United States. Australia.

“Local producers and their communities… continue to face significant difficulties.”

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