Horticulture New Zealand says it can offer no apologies over the fact that our fresh fruit and vegetable prices are so high lately.

Horticulture NZ President Andrew Fenton told the industry’s annual conference in Rotorua last week that the fresh fruit and vegetable industry is not benefiting from recent high prices.

“We don’t apologise for high prices, because we don’t control prices,” Andrew said.

“Consumers might be paying more for fresh fruit and vegetables, but as all growers very well know, this does not automatically translate into increased returns for them.”

Just in the last few weeks, with the announcements in the latest Food and Consumer Price indexes, we saw the painful results of a perfect storm of conditions.

Bad weather here and in Australia, increased on-farm costs and the increase in GST all pushed up what are already high winter prices, particularly for tomatoes, lettuce and capsicum.

A HortNZ staff member found tomatoes selling in Wellington last week for $1.99 – EACH.

“When product is in short supply, it will be more expensive. and there are some consumers who shouldn’t be trying to buy the same product all year round, because it is expensive to do so.

“Seasonality is the key to sensible fresh fruit and vegetable purchasing, for example, buying fresh strawberries in New Zealand in July is a luxury for most of us,” Andrew said.

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