Lettuces for $10 and cauliflowers for $9: Coronavirus panic buying causes huge price rises for fresh vegetables in Woolworths
- Panic buying has left supermarkets stripped of pasta, rice, and other goods
- Shoppers have now noticed a steep hike in prices for fresh fruits and vegetables
- Broccoli was selling for $11.50 per kilo at Woolworths in Cannon Hill, Brisbane
- At Coles, tomatoes on the vine were priced as high as $9.90 a kilogram
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Produce prices have soared at Australian supermarkets after coronavirus panic buying left shelves stripped of goods.
As the COVID-19 pandemic escalates, shoppers have been struggling to find goods after grocery stores were stripped of pasta, rice, tinned foods and other supplies.
Fresh fruits and vegetables remain in stock at most supermarkets, but have now seen a steep hike in prices with bananas going for as much as $4.90 a kilo.
Woolworths iceberg lettuce was priced at an unusually-high $5.50 per head
Coles staff work to keep shelves stocked during the first Coles Community Hour in Melbourne this week
Woolworths said the supermarket has experienced an increased demand amid the coronavirus pandemic that has left vegetable supplies running low
At Woolworths in Cannon Hill, Brisbane, broccoli was selling for $11.50 per kilo while head of cauliflower was $8.90, The Courier-Mail reported.
Prices for vegetables were not much cheaper at Coles, where tomatoes were selling for as high as $9.90 a kilo.
‘Tomatoes I think are a ridiculous price. The ones with the vine are $9.90, the ones without are $8.90, how do you justify that?’ customer Rhondda Pavlov told the publication.
At discount chain Aldi, truss tomatoes were priced at $8.99 a kilogram and iceberg lettuce was just 90 cents less than its competitors, at $4.99.
However, Woolworths and Coles say the above-average prices are due to this year’s devastating bushfire crisis and the drought – not because they’ve jacked up prices due to panic-buying.
‘Coles has seen wholesale price increases on some fresh produce lines due to factors including limited availability as a result of bushfires and drought,’ the supermarket chain said in a statement.
People on social media say they have noticed the prices of fruits and vegetables have skyrocketed
People queue for a delivery of toilet paper, paper towel and pasta at a Coles supermarket in Sydney
‘Coles has absorbed some of these increases so we can continue to provide great value for our customers.’
Woolworths said the supermarket has experienced an increased demand that has left vegetable supplies running low.
‘We’re working closely with our fresh food suppliers to manage the impact of this increased demand, alongside the broader environmental impact of drought and unseasonal weather in different parts of the country,’ the company said.
It comes as panic buying have left supplies of rice, pasta, beef mince and other essentials worryingly low.
Panic buying has been a source of consternation among consumers, and even Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who slammed hoarding during a global health crisis as ‘un-Australian’.
Coles, Woolworths and Aldi have all imposed strict limits on purchasing toilet paper, hand sanitiser and non perishable goods like pasta and rice in recent weeks.
Pictured: An empty toilet paper aisle at a Woolworths in Kellyville in north-western Sydney . Panic buyers are leading to Australian schools running out of hand sanitiser, the deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly said