A popular grocery item is soaring in price at Australian supermarkets due to “adverse weather conditions”.
Coles and Woolworths confirmed strawberries have been impacted by a supply issue, negatively affecting prices.
Strawberries are grown continuously throughout the year in Australia, with crops generally coming from farms in Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, southern Western Australia and the Granite Belt in southeast Queensland during summer.
While the majority of the fruit sold in winter is harvested on the Sunshine Coast and Perth.
Despite having strawberry availability all year round, a sign displayed at a Coles supermarket in Sydney this week revealed there were “less strawberries than usual”.
Coles has since upped its price, selling a 350g punnet for $10.90 – this means it is $1.35 per strawberry with eight in the punnet.
The supermarket said the reason its strawberry “prices are higher than usual” was down to “seasonal change”.
“We know our customers love strawberries but right now is not the season for them as we are in between seasons in two different growing regions,” a spokesperson told news.com.au.
“In summer, our crops are grown in Victoria and Tasmania and as we move into winter we source the delicious fruit from Queensland growers.
“Every year we go through a seasonal change, which means prices are higher than usual at the moment.
“The premium strawberries are very early in their season and currently volumes are very small.
“The price of this premium variety is higher right now as the pickers need to search more plants to find the right quality as the weather is limiting the ripeness of this fruit.”
Meanwhile Woolworths is offering 350g of strawberries for $6.50 – while a 250g tub is currently selling for $6.
“Due to adverse weather conditions in our growing regions, particularly with some cold and wet days, the supply of strawberries has been impacted,” a spokesperson told news.com.au.
“We are working with our growers to improve supply and expect supply to recover in June.”
Coles also reassured customers prices would improve once “strawberry season is in full swing”.
Countless grocery prices have skyrocketed in the last few months as the cost of living crisis continues to cripple Australians.
In a bid to deter shoppers from stealing as every day essentials become expensive, Coles has begun placing staple items under lock and key.
The Australian retailer defended its decision to place “additional security” on premium items as a deterrent after copping backlash for placing two varieties of Capilano Manuka Honey in locked containers.
“While the majority of our customers do the right thing, from time-to-time individual stores make decisions to put additional security measures in place for some high-value products, such as Manuka honey,” a spokesperson told news.com.au on Friday.
“If a customer wishes to purchase the item, it’s as simple as getting the encasing removed at the checkout.”
Footage shared on TikTok by @TheOzLanderReturns, showing the 340g bottles of honey under lock and key had angered many.
“So apparently, this is what we’ve come to as a country. The honey is in a protective container,” he said in the clip.
“So is this one [showing another bottle]. I only just noticed that. I mean, you charge $30 for a packet of honey, what do you expect?”
The products were on special, priced at $26, reduced from $30.
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