WA food costs spiral

06 Feb, 2008 09:00 PM
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NOT only is Perth Australia’s most unaffordable city when it comes to housing — Perth shoppers are also paying the highest prices in Australia for lamb and bacon.

In its latest national look at the average retail prices of selected items in the eight capital cities, Australian Bureau of Statistics’ figures have shown that a 1kg leg of lamb and 1kg of loin chops are the most expensive in Perth.

A leg of lamb sells for $9.78/kg, while the chops retail at $17.56/kg.

Pork is also highly priced in Perth supermarkets where 1kg of pork retails for $7.32, beaten only by Hobart where it retails for $8.18.

Pork loin chops are also the most expensive in Perth selling for $14.94, the next highest being Adelaide where it retails for $14.36.

The next highest in Australia is Darwin, $4.80 for 250g.

WA Pork Producers Association (WAPPA) executive officer Russell Cox said he was looking at the pork price variations across Perth suburbs.

“There are some huge variations in prices for the same products in different supermarkets,” he said.

“Some vary by as much as $13/kg.

“Pork producers are currently receiving $3.60-$3.65/kg for pork and $3-$3.10/kg for bacon.”

Mr Cox said given substantial increases in inputs to produce food, consumers would have to get used to paying more for meats.

WAPPA treasurer Richard Evison said consumers are going to have to pay more for meat due to the increase in grain prices, but producers had to get part of that increase.

“The consumer is willing to pay, it is just the case of getting as much possible back to the producer to cover the substantial increase in grain prices,” he said.

“Pig farmers are solely reliant on producing pork on a grain-based diet and any downsize takes a year.

“We still have to feed the pigs in the system and cannot just switch production on or off.”

Mr Evison said the pork industry was influenced by the level of the Australian dollar.

“In WA we are reliant on the export market and the fresh market,” he said.

“Normally, if the dollar is as high as it is currently, it makes it lucrative to export pork from other countries.

“If we can increase fresh consumption of pork in Australia then that would be a plus for the industry.”

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