It’s potentially good news for cash-strapped consumers as fruit, vegetable, and meat stock supplies rise paving the way for food prices to fall.
Last year the Frugl Grocery Price Index indicated that annual grocery price inflation had risen to a record high of 9.49 per cent with older generations facing the steepest price rises both annually and quarterly. Pensioners were faced with a 15.31 per cent increase annually and 3.92 per cent rise quarterly in food costs.
At the time Frugl managing director and CEO, Sean Smith said, “One conclusion is clear, our older generations are facing the highest price increases.”
The pressure continued into 2023 as revealed by the Council of the Ageing’s (COTA) State of the Older Nation (SOTON) 2023. The report surveyed 2,750 Australians aged 50, with the responses painting a grim picture for older Australians.
Findings showed that 45 per cent of respondents believed that their situation was worse, a significant rise from 2021 (33 per cent) and 2019 (27 per cent).
But in a positive turn of events and some good luck with the weather, the tide is turning on steep food prices and this could have a positive effect on those budgets hopefully freeing up some disposable income.
The latest data from the federal government reveals that various fruit and vegetables wholesale prices are lower or rising slower than they were last year and Aussies can expect to pay less for fruits such as watermelon, strawberries, blueberries and vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and onions.
Commenting for The New Daily, Queensland-based orchardist Ron Dalton said the weather had been kind to growers early in 2023. This a stark contrast from the devastating 2022 floods which wreaked havoc on crops across affected areas and sent food prices sky high.
“There’s plenty of product. It’s been the best it’s been for a number of years,” Dalton said.
The price of meat is also expected to come down. The New Daily reported that the price of key proteins such as beef and lamb were also easing. Analyst for the Meat and Livestock Association, Steve Bignell attributed this to an influx of supply during 2023.
According to Bignell, much groundwork has gone into building herds in previous years and this has led to larger quantities of meat making its way to the market.
“We’re on track to smash the record for lamb production [this year],” Bignell said.
Beef supply is also on the up with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showing beef production is up 1.9 per cent over the June quarter. Bignell added that the increase in meat supply and a higher number of animals was putting pressure on the price.
While these are wholesale prices the latest ABS figures published three weeks ago show that food inflation has indeed fallen to 7.5 per cent over the June quarter, this down from 8 per cent in March and 9.2 per cent in December.