New Zealand: Independent grocers troubled as supermarket sales triple

Prices all over New Zealand have been high for many necessities as people stockpiled, but one food group that doesn't work well with stockpiling is fruit and vegetables. Fruit and vegetable retailer Glenn Forsyth said panic buying had affected prices, and smaller stores like greengrocers needed to be allowed to continue trading.

"Demand exceeded supply by a long shot," he said. "Shelves have been emptied, now shops will have to sell their expensive stock first and as products start to build up again you'll see prices fall at the market and you'll see prices fall next week at retail too."

The problem of high prices lies with panic buying putting pressure on supply chains.

"Had people just bought supplies for two to three days at a time we wouldn't have experienced these super high prices and then a crash," Forsyth said. ''Produce is very sensitive to the supply and demand model but the growers want to let people know, we are not going to run out of fruit and vegetables in New Zealand."

The stock that big supermarkets usually don't take, and that then goes to groceries and independent stores, also make for a problem. Forsyth said some of the misfits and odd bunch ranges would go to supermarkets but it was a problem that needed addressing.

"There's a lot more produce than this to go around which is why we need the greengrocers to stay open and keep competition alive with prices to us, the public ... with restaurants, greengrocers and independent stores closed, the supermarkets have tripled their business overnight. This puts an incredible amount of pressure on the supply chains to these stores, not to mention that they have more of a captive audience and can charge handsomely as a result. It's not only the greengrocers but the butchers and bakers too, we're pushing people away from other outlets and confining them even more in one spot."


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