Farmer exposes major scam in supermarkets

An Australian farmer believes that the large supermarkets are unnecessarily increasing the cost of fresh fruit and vegetables.

An Australian farmer encourages shoppers to ditch the big supermarkets to buy cheaper fresh fruit and vegetables.

Guy Gaeta, chair of the NSW Farmers horticultural committee, told news.com.au he spoke on behalf of many farmers who felt supermarkets were defrauding consumers.

“Lemons are dirt cheap right now. The supermarkets can buy them for $8 a box and sell them for $4.90/kg… they make $82 a box,” claimed Mr. Gaeta as an example.

He said prices at a local greengrocer or farmer’s market can sometimes be more than half the price at the supermarket.

“This plays a role in the cost of living. People just pay way too much,” he says.

“I can talk because we don’t supply them (the big supermarkets), but farmers are happy I say something.”

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed in March that the price of groceries increased by 5.3 percent annually.

Fruit and vegetable prices rose 6.7 percent and meat and seafood prices rose 6.2 percent during the year.

Mr Gaeta said it was “reasonable enough” to raise the prices of certain products when they were in short supply, but too many items were flagged when enough were around.

“It really drives me crazy in this country where we have enough food, people can’t afford to buy fresh fruits and vegetables,” he said.

Mr Gaeta, who grows cherries and apples in Orange, NSW, said he knew supermarkets were convenient but encouraged those looking for a lower price to shop around.

Obviously, one of the reasons supermarkets and local greengrocers’ prices can vary is that while smaller stores can buy cheap same-day produce in the wholesale market, supermarkets don’t because of their size.

Instead, they often have long-term contracts with specific growers.

When answering questions about price, Coles emphasized the convenience of grocery shopping, that it could offer a wider range and offer services such as home delivery and rewards.

“The price of products is a factor of supply and demand; however, our team is working hard to bring prices down for our customers as quickly as possible,” said a Coles spokeswoman.

“Our customers can expect an improved volume from many fresh produce lines in the coming weeks thanks to the extraordinary efforts of our growers.”

Aldi said: “We always want to deliver the best value for our customers while maintaining fair prices with our supplier partners.”

Woolworths insisted that higher prices didn’t mean it was making a huge profit margin as claimed, and insisted it was paying farmers much more for supplies than last year.

“The supermarket price of fruit and vegetables is determined by what we pay our farmers for each variety,” said a spokeswoman.

“We pay farmers the market price for their produce, which can vary throughout the year due to weather, seasonality, supply and demand.

“Last year, when the market price for fruit and vegetables fell, we passed on those savings to the customers in the supermarket.

“We are currently paying a lot more to our suppliers in the vegetable category. The main reason why the prices of some varieties are rising is the reduced supply on the market due to the flooding on the east coast and the persistent bad weather in key growing regions.”

Which fruits and vegetables should I buy?

The high cost of fruit and vegetables has been a topic of conversation for months, with farmers and supermarkets encouraging Australians to follow a seasonal diet to save money.

Social media users have shared photos of expensive products and sometimes empty shelves.

The well-documented “lettuce crisis” even made international headlines when KFC admitted it was replenish cabbage for lettuce in his burgers because of the demand for the supply.

In recent updates from Woolworths and Coles, the companies said they expected lettuce supply to improve by the end of July.

Both supermarkets recommended shoppers take advantage of the good range of avocados, sweet potatoes, pumpkins and mandarins.

Coles also suggested shoppers look for bananas, navel oranges, apples, pears, carrots, potatoes and brown onions.

The supermarket said the volumes of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, fresh herbs and tomatoes would increase “in a few weeks”.

Beans, corn, broccoli, broccolini, Asian vegetables and lettuce are expected to be in abundance in August.

How much do Australians spend on groceries?

Last year, Australian households spent an average of $153 a week on groceries, according to a survey by the financial comparison site Canstar Blue

It said the average weekly grocery bill for shoppers at Woolworths was $156, Coles $154 and Aldi $144.

Aldi’s price report published in May shows that an average family of two adults and two children spends $192.19 a week on groceries.

In a larger family with four children, Aldi found that they would spend an average of $278.39 per week and a couple would spend an average of $136.56 per week.

Canstar’s advice for saving money on groceries included creating a food budget, writing a shopping list, spotting specials, buying supermarket brands and participating in reward programs.

Another tip was to check the unit price.

“The best way to make sure you’re getting value for money on any product is to check the unit price. It’s a mandatory labeling system that basically tells you the cost per litre, per kilogram (or whatever unit of measure) of what you want to buy,” it said.

Read related topics:Woolworths

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