<strong>Fruit and vegetable industry battles tough weather conditions</strong>

Fruit and vegetable industry battles tough weather conditions

The release of the monthly Food Price Index showing a 16% increase in the cost of fruit and vegetables around Aotearoa compared with January 2022 is unsurprising for the horticulture industry.

United Fresh President, Jerry Prendergast

United Fresh President, Jerry Prendergast, says the raft of challenges facing the country’s growers mean consumers should be prepared for continued disruption to fresh produce pricing and availability.

“Cyclone Gabrielle has devastated orchards and crops around the North Island. While we still can’t assess the damage, particularly in the Hawkes Bay, every flood event can equate to months of lost production as well as disruption to key logistics such as transport and seasonal work,” says Prendergast.

“Costs are at an all-time high for the whole industry as we face increases in the price of fuel, fertiliser and labour. The unprecedented wet and windy weather systems have put more pressure on a supply chain that was already struggling,” he says.

“Kiwi growers and suppliers are resilient. There’s staff working up and down the country right now to get fresh fruit and vegetables to supermarkets and retailers.

“What we need is for consumers to be flexible with their meal planning, look for the affordable seasonal offerings and be prepared to try different varieties of produce if their family favourite is low in supply. Fresh fruit and vegetables in season still offer good value when compared to many other popular supermarket choices,” says Prendergast.

“As an example, February and March are a great time to try some of the summerfruit coming from Central Otago. Our South Island growers have had exceptional weather this year and the fruit has arrived in time to replace melon crops that will be affected by the rain,” he says.

More information about the monthly Food Price Index can be found on the StatsNZ Tatauranga Aotearoa website: https://www.stats.govt.nz/information-releases/food-price-index-january-2023/

About United Fresh

United Fresh New Zealand Incorporated is New Zealand’s only pan-produce industry organisation, and our vision is to help support a sustainable fresh fruit and vegetable industry in New Zealand.

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