Small-scale Australian grocers are calling for a cap on fresh fruit and vegetable prices in supermarkets as the cost continues to soar. Woolworths announced a price freeze on some "essential items" this week, such as pasta, bacon and frozen peas, but growers claim that if supermarkets were not willing to make similar sacrifices on their profit margins for fresh produce, the federal government should intervene, similar to how energy prices were capped this month.
A Department of Agriculture spokesperson said due to the perishable nature of fruit and vegetables, prices were sensitive to supply side shocks such as flooding events. "In normal times fruit and vegetable prices tend to recover relatively quickly," the spokesperson said. "However, there are a range of inflationary pressures across the fruit and vegetable supply chain including increasing fertilizer and fuel costs and continued labor shortages in a tight labor market.