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Red meat prices spike as shoppers feel bite of inflation

Packaged meat products
Red meat has become a "luxury item" as supermarket prices rise across Australia. (Source: Getty) (Jenny Evans via Getty Images)

It might be time to start thinking about alternatives to red meat, the major supermarkets say, as inflation adds a sting to rising grocery prices across Australia.

As fuel pushes the $2 per litre mark, price rises in other consumer goods are being felt more acutely, particularly in the supermarket.

Yahoo Finance spoke to the big supermarket chains, Woolworths and Coles, to get a sense of which prices were going up and down during a time of uncertainty in domestic and world supplies, coupled with high inflation.


But the news is not all bad for shoppers.

Fresh produce in, red meat out

Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci said favourable growing conditions, from two years of heavy rain across the bulk of the continent, had seen prices of traditionally expensive foods, such as avocados, drop below average.

"Right now, I have to call out avocados and apples, where we have a lot of deflation," Banducci said.

Avocado cut into pieces
Favourable growing conditions in WA have seen the price of avocados drop. (Source: Assocaiated Press) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

"We have a lot of avocados. There has been a very good growing season and a lot of extra supply coming out from WA.

“We've been selling avocados at $1.50, which is fabulous because it's such a super food. And apples are a real everyday item and there is great value on them right now.”

However meat lovers have been feeling the bite at the checkout with beef and lamb continuing to rise in price.

"The most expensive thing that has happened to us is red meat,” Banducci said.

"Both beef and lamb have become incredibly expensive and we all notice that. They become almost a bit of a luxury item.

“That said, pork prices have stopped going up and certainly chicken prices are holding, and it seems as if we might get good pink salmon prices.

"So, red meat is becoming more expensive, but there are opportunities for families to buy alternative forms of protein that are more affordable."

A Coles spokesperson told Yahoo Finance inflation was a constant pressure on food prices, however recent favourable growing conditions had also seen some produce prices drop.

"We understand value is important to our customers and work hard to ensure our prices remain competitive in the market," the spokesperson said.

"We’ll continue to work with our suppliers to sensitively manage the industry-wide inflationary pressure on food and groceries.

“Favourable growing conditions have seen strong supply and, therefore, lower prices for some fresh produce lines including our fruit categories: avocados, cherries, pink lady apples and strawberries.”

Strong economy negating inflation

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said inflation and international pressure on goods and services were always factors for Australian consumers, yet pointed to the low unemployment rate as one thing keeping the economy afloat.

“Inflation is up off the back of global supply chain disruptions and increased demand for goods, while geopolitical tensions - including the Ukraine invasion - has seen sharp increases in energy prices, which is showing up at the fuel bowser here in Australia,” Frydenberg said.

“At 1.3 per cent for the quarter and 3.5 per cent through the year, inflation in Australia is half of what it is in the United States and lower than it is in Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg holds a copy of the 2021-2022 Federal Budget
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says a strong Australian economy is negating inflation. (Source: Getty) (Sam Mooy via Getty Images)

“But despite the global supply chain disruptions that Australia and many other countries around the world face, the Australian economy is remarkably resilient, with the unemployment rate at a 13-year low of 4.2 per cent.

“The RBA is expecting the unemployment rate to have a '3' in front of it for the first time since 1974 and have significantly upgraded their wages outlook, forecasting wages growth of 3 per cent next year, above the 2.6 per cent when we came to office, despite facing the largest economic shock since the Great Depression.”

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