Barry, Melissa and Kayleigh Simpson have noticed a dramatic increase in supermarket prices over the last 10 years.
Barry, Melissa and Kayleigh Simpson have noticed a dramatic increase in supermarket prices over the last 10 years. Max Fleet/News Mail

Price increase is food for thought

BUNDABERG consumers are counting the cost as new figures show Australia has the fastest-rising food prices of any developed nation — and local growers say they are not benefiting either.

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) figures have revealed grocery prices have increased by more than 40% since the beginning of 2000, and experts were quick to blame the supermarket stranglehold of Coles and Woolworths.

Bundaberg man Barry Simpson has a wife and two young daughters to feed and said he had noticed the price increases.

“Grocery prices have definitely gone up; it is my biggest expense,” he said.

“You can spend a few hundred dollars before you know it.”

Mr Simpson said he kept his eye out for specials.

“I tend to shop when the specials are on. It’s just a matter of checking,” he said.

“Everything has just gone so mad. I don’t see how it can be justified at all.”

Mr Simpson said he wondered where the money (from increased prices) was going.

“The shame is the farmers are probably getting next to nothing,” he said.

Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers executive officer Peter Peterson echoed the sentiment, saying growers were also finding it tough.

“They can’t control anything. They are at the bottom of the chain,” he said.

“I couldn’t say where the money is going, but I can tell you it’s not going back to the farms.”

Mr Simpson’s brother recently visited from Scotland and was shocked at the high prices.

“He couldn’t believe some of the prices, like cooked chickens. They are twice the price here,” he said.

“He can get about 10 bananas for $2 and they are imported, yet ours are grown just down the road and look what we are paying.”

Mr Simpson said it was expensive to keep his family healthy with fruit and vegetable prices soaring.

“My girls are six and one-and-a-half years old. It is important to be feeding them these things,” he said.

“It’s expensive but I will always still buy it for them.”

Smaller supermarket player IGA has tried to make inroads into Coles and Woolworths’ market share, but IGA Bundaberg managing director Derek Cornett said the chain faced challenges, thanks to price increases in items such as fuel.

“Our margins would also have been reduced over that 10-year period,” he said.



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