Bad weather to drive up prices, Woolworths warns Aussie shoppers

Due to the disruptive wet weather and flooding leading into winter, customers might notice a difference in both price and stock of fresh produce at Woolworths.

In an email to customers on Thursday, Woolworths General Manager of Fruit and Veg, Paul Turner, delivered some unwelcome news, updating customers on what they can expect regarding supply and prices in the future.

As winter arrives, the Eastern seaboard will look to northern growing areas for fresh fruit and veg, as it gets cooler in the southern regions, he said.

"However, after consistent rainfall and low sunlight across northern NSW and south-east, central and northern Queensland in recent months, the supply of fruit and veg has been impacted," Mr Turner said.

Pictured is woolworths produce - with a sign saying
Woolworths customers might notice some produce in short supply or with a slightly higher price. Source: Getty Images

What Woolworths fruit and veg is impacted?

Mr Turner went on to explain the recent flooding which affected much of the east coast pushed back the planting of Cos and Iceberg lettuce.

The delayed planting may result in customers seeing a short supply and an impact on price "in the short term".

The short supply and hike in price should return to normal in about four weeks the company expects, depending on weather conditions.

Woolworths' pre-packaged spinach leaf salads have also been impacted by the rain, though Mr Turner said growth and quality are "already improving".

A women is seen walking through floodwaters in the town of Grantham, west of Brisbane, Thursday, May 12, 2022. Queensland continues to be battered by an unseasonal rain band as floodwaters claimed the life of a woman at Mount Osso, near Mackay, on Wednesday.
The wet weather has caused some problems with the supply, causing Woolworths to warn customers about stock and prices. Source: AAP

The southern berry season is winding down, however due to the rain and flooding in Queensland, customers might also notice strawberries and raspberries aren't in abundance.

"Quantities will be much better once the Queensland season picks up around late June," Mr Turner said.

Earlier this month, Woolworths and Coles customers noticed the price of watermelons were higher than usual as it was between seasons.

Some saw whole watermelons selling for over $30, however Woolworths now has whole watermelons for $22, while Coles is selling them for $20.

A general view is seen of a Woolworths store in Brisbane, Friday, June 25, 2021.
Woolworths is working with growers to ensure supply is back to normal soon. Source: AAP

Woolworths promises 'excellent' avocados in coming weeks

It's not all bad news though. While the Shepherd avocado season is finishing, Mr Turner said Woolworths is starting to get in some "excellent quality" Hass avocados early in the season.

He suggests looking out for Hass avocados in the next week or so.

In addition to avocados, Mr Turner said there are plenty of Jazz apples, oranges, Imperial mandarins and Kent pumpkins which had a longer growing period.

Woolworths has also dropped the price of Australian mashing potatoes and more than 300 staples ahead of winter.

"Our team will continue to do everything they can, and work closely with our growers, to help improve supply as quickly as possible, and we thank you for your understanding," Mr Turner concluded.

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