Cool Queensland weather leads to a strawberry price spike
A gap in the supply of Queensland strawberries led to severely higher than usual costs in recent weeks, according to one Victorian retailer.
Director at Alexanders Fruit Market in Oakleigh, David Zahlan, says supply has been very short and very tight, due to Queensland's cold weather and the fruit not coming on. It has delayed the season, which is putting a lot of pressure on price because the volume is suffering. "We only started getting stock from Queensland two weeks ago," he said. "So, precluding Queensland, our sales were phenomenal, we were flat out. The first week or so of (Queensland) strawberries, we really struggled because we couldn't get them. The prices were super-duper high, we were paying $90 a tray. It’s usually about $30-$40." He added that demand has just settled down and strawberry prices right now are back down to about three dollars a punnet wholesale. The transition between local Victorian strawberries and the fruit from Queensland meant a big supply gap, leading to high demand and prices.
"So, the local's finished and the Queensland's didn't overlap," Mr Zahlan said. "So, the last couple of years Queensland's overlapped with the local season, which has kept the price cheap. This year there's a big gap between the two. Queensland hasn't quite fired up and the local stuff finished off too quick. Local held on probably an extra month. Normally they finish at the end of Easter and then they kept running on. So, you had to buy. Everyone's retailing an about $4 a punnet, which is a bit on the high side."
Mr Zahlan explained that when strawberry prices spike, customers just look for the other berry lines, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries. But says that strawberry prices usually follow raspberries and blueberries, meaning if other berries are super pricey then the strawberries usually match.
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Source fresh plazza