Australians could soon see their supermarket bills rise by nearly a third as the severe worker shortage continues to cripple the agriculture sector.
According to data released by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural Resources Economics and Science this week, the prices of vegetables, stone fruits, apples, pears and grapes will rise as much as 29% this summer.
“Fruit prices are expected to rise most, because fruit production is likely to be most adversely affected by reduced labour supply,” ABARES said in its horticulture report for the March 2021 quarter. Consumers can expect to see a change to their grocery bills in a few months’ time, it added. “The peak harvest period for fruit is in February, March and April, meaning lower than average supply and higher than average fruit prices may not occur until well into autumn.”
Pink lady apples at Woolworths are currently at $1.37 each. A 29 per cent price rise would bring this to $1.77. William Bartlett pears from Woolworth’s, currently $2.50 per 1-kg punnet, would end up at $3.23 per punnet. Coles’ yellow peaches, at $2.90 a kg, would cost $3.70 and loose white seedless grapes, at $5 a kilo, would rise to $6.45.
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