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Coles is working with Aussie fresh produce growers to help customers get lettuce back on their plates amid national shortages and price surges, coming up with a temporary solution to benefit both farmers and consumers.
The announcement comes after cold weather and floods in NSW and Queensland impacted the supermarket's supply.
As a result, the prices of lettuce has soared, reaching a massive $12 a head in some parts of the country – up from its usual price of around $2.80.
Two-packs to solve supply problem in short term
In a bid to help everyday Aussies get their hands on the grocery staple, South-East Queensland customers will now be able to purchase packs of two smaller lettuces for $6.50 – the same price they would currently pay for one at Coles.
While these lettuce heads haven't fully grown due to the recent cold snap, Coles assures shoppers they are still full of flavour and in great condition.
"A two-pack will offer value to our customers with a price in line with a single full-size iceberg lettuce, and it will help our growers make the most of their crops while giving our customers more supply," Coles General Manager of Produce Craig Taylor said.
The initiative aims to allow growers in Queensland's Lockyer Valley to use some of the iceberg lettuce crops that have been impacted by recent weather, while improving supply for South-East Queensland customers.
Growers assure customers lettuce is 'crisp and great for eating'
Lockyer Valley producer Matt Hood from Rugby Farm said there is plenty of lettuce to go around and the initiative will ensure they don't go to waste.
"We've had devastating floods earlier this year, ongoing heavy rainfall, recent cold weather and lower levels of sunlight and that means we've struggled to get our lettuces to grow to a big enough size that customers would expect," said Mr Hood.
He said that the growers were "so pleased" to work with Coles to provide customers with a highly-sought-after lettuce that will be "delicious and fresh".
"The current iceberg lettuces in the fields are small, however, the hearts are still crisp and great for eating, which is why we are doubling up to give customers two instead of one."
Coles' temporary solution to benefit customers and growers
Meanwhile, Mr Taylor said the Coles fresh produce team is working closely with growers to help them recover as quickly as possible.
"The onset of winter has brought some freezing temperatures around Australia. While Coles has an abundance of certain fresh fruit and vegetables like avocados, pears, oranges, kiwi fruit, onions, carrots and potatoes that offer great value, some items are in restricted supply," said Mr Taylor.
He said that after speaking to the team at Rugby Farm about the supply of lettuce in their fields that weren't going to make it to full size, they decided to sell the two-packs of small lettuces.
The soft-plastic packaging the lettuce is available inside can be recycled in REDCycle bins located at Coles supermarkets.
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