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Lettuces, zucchinis, berries: When these items will be cheap at Woolworths

Woolworths store
It's probably best to strike these fruit and vegetables off your shopping list this week. (Source: Reuters)

Australian shoppers can expect to see overpriced fresh produce in the supermarket aisle until as late as August as bad weather continues to devastate crops.

A lot of fresh produce has become hard to find in Australian supermarkets over the past few weeks as floods and cold weather hit crop yields.

Limited supplies have also driven up prices, with lettuces reaching $12 a head in parts of the country.

General inflationary pressures were also contributing to higher prices, Rabobank analyst Angus Gidley-Baird said, with high costs of freight, labour and energy pushing up prices along the entire food chain.

Shoppers will have to wait at least another month before lettuce is back on the shelves at a reasonable price, with the Woolworth’s latest Fresh Market Update showing cos and iceberg lettuce varieties will be back in stock come mid-July

Supplies of zucchinis, Asian leafy greens, baby spinach and grapes are also expected to improve come mid-July, according to the supermarket.

Shoppers can expect to wait a bit longer before spring onions and green beans are abundant.

Bad weather has affected harvesting cycles for green beans, meaning stock should improve by late July.

Fresh herbs have also been impacted by poor weather conditions, with supplies expected to improve in early August.

Berries have also taken a hit due to poor weather conditions. However, availability of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries is expected to improve within weeks.

Not all fruit and vegetables are in short supply. Hass avocados are in season, as are citrus fruits such as mandarins and navel oranges.

Sweet potatoes are also in “abundance”, while Kent pumpkins and mushroom varieties are also available.

Tips to save on groceries

Clare Collins, laureate professor in nutrition and dietetics at the University of Newcastle, offered a couple of tips to save on groceries:

  • Plan your meals and snacks before you go to the supermarket to cut down on wastage

  • Make use of your freezer if you have leftovers

  • Keep a budget for “discretionary foods”, which include meals out and junk food

  • Check what’s in your fridge and pantry before you shop to make sure you don’t double up

Collins has also devised a budget meal plan, for people looking to save on food, that will keep you fed for around $60 a week.

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