Extreme summer conditions to impact Australian fresh short term prices

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 14th January 2013

Australian shoppers should prepare for increased produce prices in stores following extreme temperatures experienced over the past 2 weeks.

Fresh Food Economist Franco Lagudi expects that demand for quality produce will be high as stock over the next few weeks will fail to meet market floor standards.

“Retail price point will definitely be a reflection of the quality stocked at your local fresh food retailer,” Mr Lagudi said.

“Farmers have had to discard much of their produce as the damage is too extreme to sell the items. Consumers should keep their eyes open for high quality items and be aware of the price tag,” he added.

Franco Lagudi is a leading Australian wholesaler, acting as a link between farmers and grocers which allows him to predict price changes on wholesale and retail floors on a national level.

Mr Lagudi predicts the following items will be significantly affected due to recent weather conditions:

·         Raspberries – The heat and humidity that has engulfed Victoria last week has severely affected a significant amount of the State’s raspberry crops. These have been ploughed due to poor quality and as a result there will be less volumes arriving on market floors nationally. Over the weekend and in the coming week expect raspberry prices to increase by around 20 per cent, in comparison to the Christmas and New Year period.

·         Lettuce – The quality and yield of lettuce crops has been affected, however farmers are doing all they can to keep up with the demand as the hotter weather means more shoppers craving salad. The result will be reduced lettuce volumes arriving on market floors around the country which will in turn force the price up by around 20 per cent depending on quality. Regardless, both Iceberg and Cos lettuce will continue to be great buys.

·         Tomatoes – While Victoria is our major supplier of tomatoes nationally at this time of year, it’s also expected that the heat wave in NSW will have had a damaging effect on locally produced tomatoes resulting in less quantities for sale at the open markets. Victorian temperatures will also have a knock on effect on the market. Tomato prices are expected to rise over the short term.

·         Strawberries – After New Year’s Day strawberry prices rose by around 25 per cent depending upon quality.  Most of the good quality fruit was harvested before New Year. The heat and humidity had taken its toll on remaining crops, resulting in them being discarded on the farm due to poor quality. Quality has not improved over the past week as weather conditions have worsened and will impact short term prices.