Are Supermarkets ‘Ripping off’ their Consumers?

By Hari Yellina
Pic supplied

Farmers said they are not profiting from any price increases in supermarket fresh fruit, despite complaints of price gouging by retailers. Guy Gaeta, chair of the NSW Farmers Horticulture Committee, claimed retailers were pocketing extra profits from price increases. “People are paying more at the supermarket for their fruits and vegetables, but farmers aren’t selling them for more, so who is really raising the costs here?” he stated. “They’re taking advantage of both farmers and the buyer.” Dave Parsonage is a fruit and vegetable farmer in central-west New South Wales, near Condobolin. He and his wife Diane were frequently astounded by the extent to which supermarkets inflated costs.

“Iceberg lettuces were $3.80 at Flemington markets, but $7.50 at IGA and $6.90 at Coles.” The issue, according to NSW Farmers president James Jackson, stems from the “ongoing failure of Australian competition rules.” “We’ve suffered for years as a result of this country’s weak competition policy, and it needs to be addressed.” “Let’s do something about it,’ I say to all the parties in this election.” However, Fleur Brown, the chief industry affairs officer of the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), blamed the price hikes on inflation and supply chain concerns. She claimed that claims of price gouging were untrue, and that grocery profits were also declining.

In the fiscal year 2021, the corporation earned $1.79 billion in net profit. Many apple growers have stated that making a profit on their crop has grown increasingly difficult. Due to diminishing profits and stagnant demand, John Evans is selling a portion of his Geeveston farm south of Hobart. He stated that his profits were unlikely to be sufficient to continue. “Can we do it more than once?” Jose Gil, the CEO of Fruit Producers South Australia, claimed the state’s apple growers were struggling to break even due to growing production costs. Mr Gil expressed his need for more transparency and stated his support for a reassessment of produce pricing. “There definitely needs to be a reassessment,” he added, “to make sure that the producers are getting the money they need to continue to give product.” “Otherwise, we’ll have to hunt for produce elsewhere, which is the last thing we need in our country.”

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