Weather Drives Fruit & Veg Pricing

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Statement by The NSW Chamber of Fresh Produce Limited’s (Freshmark) CEO Meegan George about how the fresh produce industry’s pricing is driven by weather in addition to other factors, such as inflation.

 

(Sydney, 6 May 2022) “There is a lot of commentary that inflation is contributing to skyrocketing product prices and consumers should expect this to continue for the foreseeable future.  Whilst this is true, when it comes to the pricing of fruit and vegetables, weather is also a key driver for fresh produce price fluctuations.”

 

“New South Wales and South East Queensland coastlines have been subject to severe flooding, thunderstorms and heavy rain where most vegetable and fruit growers’ farms are located. Consequently, this has led to many local producers of fresh produce suffering total crop losses.  Consumers may feel the effects of this on some product lines as availability will be limited for months to allow for ground and crop replenishment.   Limited supplies of specific product lines, namely vegetables, will push pricing upwards, adding fuel to the inflation fire.”

 

“Vegetable supplies have been the hardest hit concerning the weather. This resulted in reduced supply and a reduction in produce quality, adding to price pressure for consumers.”

 

“Reduced stock levels have been met with increased efforts by central market wholesalers to draw upon interstate supplies from South Australia and Victoria, where produce is able to meet this demand gap, but at a cost.”

 

“Substantial increases in transportation cost (fuel) driven by the global uncertainty of the Russian-Ukraine conflict have added pressure to fresh produce pricing resulting in further increases, despite government fuel excise halving.”

 

“Buying from the central market system is an advantage for greengrocers and retailers as they have access to hundreds of traders under one roof at Sydney Markets and therefore can negotiate competitive prices. However, once produce leaves the Markets, greengrocers and retailers will price fresh produce in accordance with their own business pricing model.”

 

“There is some good news for consumers, as new crops are harvested in regions that have previously been weather affected, Aussies should see prices reduce.  However, we do not anticipate that they will reduce to normal seasonal pricing as other drivers of inflation that directly impact our Aussie growers remain, namely labour shortages and substantive increases in transport and chemicals/fertilizer costs.  These costs must be passed on to the retailer to ensure the sustainability of our growing community.” 

 

“As always the central markets will continue to work with the fresh produce supply chain to ensure that consumers are getting the best fruit and vegetables in the country at the best value possible.”

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