Extreme weather conditions are having severe effects on the prices of food in Australia, sending watermelon prices super high.
The price of watermelons in Australia has skyrocketed in recent weeks. Poor weather conditions and supply-chain issues have caused the fruit’s price to soar to levels beyond what most out-of-season fruits cost.
“Australians have been left shocked by the price of watermelons at supermarkets across Australia and they’re not going to come down anytime soon. Whole watermelons are selling for $34 each at Woolworths stores, while at Coles a whole fruit is selling for $28,” says The Daily Mail.
9News Australia reports that price drops are expected when watermelons will be back in season. Watermelons are in season during Australia’s summer between December and May.
Why it’s important
Watermelons are not the only food shortage facing Australia in the near future though. Common staples like eggs, milk, and margarine are facing price hikes and availability issues due to weather conditions and market issues.
Woolworths, one of Australia’s largest supermarket chains, does not attribute the price jumps to inflation though, repeatedly addressing the stressors that are making it hard for farmers to deliver domestically produced watermelons.
“We pay farmers the market price for their produce, which can vary throughout the year due to weather, seasonality, supply, and demand,” says a Woolworths spokesman.
“As a third La Nina weather system brings heavy downpours and more wild weather, food producers and growers are struggling to keep up with demands. Foods like poultry, leafy greens, berries, and grains are set to rise, with the price of dairy products said to rise up to 30%… As global supply chains continue to slow, inflation and extreme weather events like the La Nina system are forcing producers to pass on added costs to supermarkets, and in turn, to everyday customers,” says News.com.AU.
NCA Newswire reports that the full $34 Woolworth’s price tag is the online price only and that stores were charging $3.90 per kilo in-store and refunding the difference. Watermelon can weigh six kilos or more depending on the variety, so the prices on smaller melons may range from $23 or higher depending on which store they’re purchased at.
The average price of a watermelon in-season in Australia is typically around $1.11 to $1.25 per kilo, according to logistics platform Selina Wamucii. Less than one-third of the cost they are now.