Food prices are rising, but you can still enjoy a classic Australian Christmas lunch. Vegetable prices are volatile and Christmas may be without cherries as Australian food prices continue to rise ahead of the festive season. Anthony Patti, from family-owned grocery store La Manna Fresh in Melbourne, is bracing for shortages as demand increases in the coming weeks: “We’re going to see a lot of vegetables affected. A lot of the paddocks are so wet that farmers are struggling to get through and plant now for that peak.”
Glasshouse-grown vegetables, shielded from the weather, are a consumer’s best bet. “Cucumbers, eggplants, capsicums, and tomatoes will be OK and good value,” says Patti.
At La Manna and in supermarkets, eggplants are reliably between $3 and $4 each or $7 to $9 a kilo. Cucumbers remain cheap and plentiful, with Lebanese cucumbers at around 80c each in supermarkets. Zucchinis are also in good supply. Truss tomatoes are cheap at $2.90 a kilo in supermarkets, and cherry tomatoes are about $2.50 a punnet.
At Ormond Fresh Produce in Melbourne’s southeast, owner Parminder Dulku says that iceberg lettuce is still a great buy at about $2.90 a head in supermarkets. Green beans are also good value for now.
Meanwhile, broccoli has almost doubled in price since last month, now in supermarkets for about $6.90 a kilo, with cauliflower prices also likely to rise. Asparagus and broccolini are still reasonable for a summer salad and barbecue season at $2.50 a bunch in supermarkets.