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Hip pocket blow with grocery prices to soar in 2015

Bevan Betros of Betros Bros says buying fresh fruit and vegetables from retailers which source produce locally will mean you pay less.
Bevan Betros of Betros Bros says buying fresh fruit and vegetables from retailers which source produce locally will mean you pay less. Tara Miko

GROCERY prices are set to rise this year as free trade agreements with Asian trading partners take effect and the Australian dollar continues to soften.

It means a good year for farmers and producers, but will deliver a blow to the consumer's pocket.

But Bevan Betros has a tip that could save you money.

He said because local grocers and independent supermarket prices were mainly dictated by supply and demand issues, global trading agreements and dollar fluctuations factored very little in determining prices.

"We're all about supply and demand, and the weather," Mr Betros said.

"If we get lots and lots of bad weather, the heat and the rain, certain foods can get in short supply.

"So if stuff (foods) has been buggered up here because of the weather, we will get it supplied from other markets in Australia."

Mr Betros' Russell St shop shelves are currently stocked with a large quantity of foods imported from around Australia due to the lacklustre season the region's farmers have faced.

"The local crops were ruined with the heatwave we had," he said.

"The best way to support your melon growers is to buy locally from your local fruit shop."

Do we pay too much for groceries in Toowoomba?

This poll ended on 19 January 2015.

Current Results

Yes

84%

No

15%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

The national melon market has been saturated of late, forcing prices to as low as 40 cents a kilo.

Chinchilla watermelon farmer Terry O'Leary said it was the lowest price he had seen for the fruit.

"The only way to get around this supply and demand problem is to provide really good quality, and get people to eat more melon," he said.

But McKinna Strategic Insight Global Outlook director and leading agribusiness commentator David McKinna said supermarket prices looked set to rise over the coming 12 months.

He said the softening of the Australian dollar and recent free trade agreements with China, Korea and Japan had increased the competitiveness of the export market, delivering returns to the farmer but driving up the cost of imported products.

Mr McKinna said that competition would be reflected in imported foods and groceries at supermarkets.

"The supermarkets have gone into private label products with their own brands, which are mostly imported," he said.

"Food prices in Australia are going to get more expensive as demand increases with trading countries."

How to save money

  • Be mindful of what foods are in season
  • Check shop specials
  • Buy fresh fruit and vegetables from grocers who buy as direct from the producer as possible

Topics:  economy editors picks farming food groceries produce toowoomba


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