Global freight problems may impact grocery prices

(Source: Big Stock)

Although fresh produce prices have recently gone down due to bountiful harvest, buyers may face higher costs due to freight disruptions.

Foodstuffs said that in January, its stores saw price declines of 41 per cent for tomatoes, 30 per cent for New Zealand avocados, 27 per cent for courgettes, 21 per cent for red capsicum, and 18 per cent for fresh lettuce.

Stats NZ reported a 4 per cent annual increase in the food price index for January, the lowest since November 2021.

“Salad lovers have been spoilt for choice this summer thanks to the warmer temperatures and more sunshine hours,” said Justin Dykhoff, head of produce at Foodstuffs South Island.

Moreover, Foodstuffs North Island head of produce and butchery Brigit Corson said that the public can expect for pears and melons to be available soon.

“Kumara harvest has just started as well, which has been in short supply all year after last summer’s storms, and shoppers can expect better supply to start in March,” said Corson.

Corson added that beef and lamb prices are anticipated to fluctuate over the coming months.

However, Foodstuffs cooperatives said that tensions at the Red Sea have caused container ships to reroute, leading to delivery delays.

“There’s a possibility the longer travel times out of Europe could lead to a container shortage, which may affect imports out of other markets,” said Chris Quin, CEO at Foodstuffs North Island.

Quin noted that the situation only poses a medium risk and has not resulted yet in material impacts.

“The general message to shoppers is that prices can go up and down, due to factors like weather and war,” he continued.

“These unforeseen events are challenging to anticipate and our experts are laser focussed on ensuring the essentials still get through, and that we continue to deliver value at the checkout.”

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