Three weeks ahead as Woolworths predicts more shortages

Shoppers have been warned of serious problems with vegetable supplies, and Woolworths reveals it doesn’t expect any improvements in the coming weeks.

Woolworths warned in the coming weeks as extreme shortages of fresh produce continue to cause store chaos.

The retailer gave a grim insight into the coming month in its latest Fresh Market inventory update, revealing that customers may have to get used to the shelves looking particularly bare.

Shoppers have been informed that the supply of fresh herbs had been so severely affected that it was unlikely to be available in normal quantities until August.

“You may see gaps in our supply of fresh herbs due to bad weather conditions. We expect availability to improve from August,” the update said.

However, consumers weren’t just dealing with a herbal-free July, with plenty of other fresh produce not available until the end of next month.

Due to the difficult growing conditions, the zucchini supply was disrupted, so that the vegetables would probably not appear on the shelves again until the end of July.

“The availability is expected to improve in four weeks’ time as the weather in the growing areas starts to warm up,” according to the zucchini update.

Green beans, baby spinach and salad bowls were other items the retailer warned wouldn’t be able to properly restock until later next month.

Past weather events were the main cause of the bean shortage, while heavy rain had hampered the regions responsible for the growth of baby spinach and salad bowl ingredients.

“Due to the heavy rainfall in the growing regions, you may not be able to buy our entire range of baby spinach and salad bowls. We expect supplies to improve over the next four weeks,” the update said.

Woolworths’ entire tomato range was affected and availability would not improve until mid-July.

The same was true for Asian leafy vegetables because of the bad weather conditions and for grapes because of the end of the summer growing season.

Well-documented lettuce supply issues were in need of improvement in July as the supermarket continued to work with growers to recover from the impact of heavy rainfall in growing regions.

Heavy rain had also disrupted supplies of broccoli and broccolini, which were expected to improve from July.

Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries still faced “challenges,” the retailer said, and availability is expected to increase in early July as growing conditions improve.

Toll of long-term supply problems

Prolonged supply problems have pushed prices to the limit that small fruit and vegetable owners have never experienced before.

Dominic Marino, owner of Melbourne fresh produce company Marino Bros, said: Nine the tension his company felt was even worse than what it had to endure during the pandemic.

“The sad thing is that we have experienced more pain in the past six months than in the past two years during Covid-19,” he said.

“Having been in this game for 30 years, I’ve never experienced the pain of trying to buy vegetables this way.”

Fellow Melbourne production company The Flying Zucchinis shared a similar experience, with boxes now costing 25 percent more than around this time last year.

A box of broccoli that would have cost $16 now costs the company $60.

“My business partner and I spend twice as long planning our boxes a week so that they fall apart at 4 a.m. when we reach the markets and realize that prices have gone up again in the six hours we slept. business partner Caity Meyer told the publication.

“This is not a sustainable position for a small company to be in. We predict that prices will stabilize again soon, but we will take a close look at our operations if they don’t.”

No delay for canned food

The disaster has also extended to the supply of canned food, with SPC chief Robert Giles begging the government for financial support.

Delivery costs – apart from energy prices, which the company has held until next year – had put enormous pressure on the company, Mr Giles told the newspaper. Australian Financial Review

Box supplier Visy had raised prices by 14 percent, following Mr Giles’ warning in March that basic commodities, including SPC Ardmona canned tomatoes, baked beans, spaghetti and Goulburn Valley fruit, would rise in price by 10 to 20 percent.

“We have just completed a significant price increase for our tomato season next year based on fertilizer, diesel and labor,” he told the publication.

“The flow-on effects can be felt everywhere. We will have to pass on packaging increases, next season we will have to pass on fruit increases and a year later we will probably have to pass on energy price increases.”

Mr Giles called on the government to provide urgent assistance to avoid reaching a “breaking point” where consumers can no longer afford staple foods.

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