An out-of-season watermelon’s price in NZ is causing concern: half a watermelon for $48?

January 11, 2023

The uproar over the price of an out-of-season watermelon in Auckland, which was being offered for $10 per kg or $100 for the entire fruit, gained attention. The New Zealand-grown food was selling for $14.99 per kg at a supermarket in Wnaka. A piece of the fruit was on sale for $47.94 at New World in the tourist town.

At $14.99 a kg, it was $6 more expensive than the same grocery chain’s central Wellington shop. In instance, watermelon was $6.99 per kilogram at Countdown shops in Auckland and Wellington. Watermelon delivery to a Queenstown address cost $7.50 per kilogram, according to Countdown online.

Foodstuffs, which owns New World, stated that the pricing of fresh produce in its supermarkets is very dynamic and can alter on a daily basis. Weather, seasonality, how far product travels, and whether it is on sale at the time could all influence the price of fresh produce.

While the price of watermelon at the New World Three Parks in Wnaka was $14.99 on Thursday, it had dropped to $11.99 on Friday. When New Zealand-grown watermelons came into season, the price was likely to reduce further. Now it’s the start of watermelon season in New Zealand so we expect prices to fall in-store as the season progresses. While the price of food may differ from on a daily basis, the price of NZ grown watermelons are pretty similar across New Worlds in the South Island at the present.

According to the Commerce Commission, supermarkets came under pressure last year after it was revealed that they were taking more than $1 million in excess earnings every day. Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark also took a swipe at supermarkets’ competitiveness last month when he introduced measures to force them to prominently display the price per weight to make it simpler for shoppers to compare prices.

Jan Swann, a holidaymaker from Wnaka, wasn’t the first to notice the $14.99 per kilogram watermelon, but she wasn’t surprised by the price disparity. she stated that when people went on vacation, they always expected to pay more. We stock up on essentials before we travel, we know the costs would be horrible, but you don’t have a choice but it’s not fair on the locals.

Wooster, on the other hand, denied the idea, saying it’s not true that rates in tourist destinations are purposefully raised. Our locally owned and operated stores are working extremely hard to deliver the very best value they can for all customers every single day.

Despite inflationary pressures, Foodstuffs sector stores have kept customer pricing increases below inflation and below supplier cost increases for seven months in a row.  We will continue to fight inflation in order to relieve pressure on household finances throughout 2023.

Watermelon harvesting had been put down by inclement weather, according to horticulture company LeaderBrand. They planned to produce 3000 tons of the fruit this season. Gordon McPhail, general manager of agricultural stated that the team was constantly monitoring the watermelon patch. The initial harvest was projected to begin in mid to late January and last through the end of March. Fruit prices increased by 17.8% in the year ending November 2022, according to Stats NZ’s food price index.

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