In order to prevent badly affected crops from being “wasted”, the supermarket giant is selling iceberg lettuces with a visible difference.
It’s the grocery store staple that’s skyrocketed to rather absurd prices recently – but now Coles has stepped in to put iceberg lettuce back on our plates.
The leafy green vegetable is currently in short supply after recent floods in Queensland and New South Wales.
The brutal cold snap also seriously affected crops.
As a result, lettuce prices have skyrocketed to as high as $12 a head in some parts of the country from a regular price of around $2.80.
But in a bid to help Australians enjoy the ‘quintessential’ salad ingredient again, Coles has announced it is now selling two ‘smaller’ icebergs for $6.50.
Although these lettuces haven’t fully sprouted due to the unusually cold elements, they are still “delicious and in fantastic condition”, the supermarket giant said.
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The agreement also allows growers in Queensland’s Lockyer Valley to use some of the iceberg lettuce crops that have been affected and will improve availability for customers.
Matt Hood, from Rugby Farm, explained that the lettuce supply was a great way to ensure that the relevant crops “don’t go to waste”.
“We had devastating flooding earlier this year, continued heavy rain, recent cold weather and lower levels of sunshine which meant we struggled to grow our lettuces to a size large enough to that customers expect,” he said.
“We are delighted to work with Coles to produce a product that will always be delicious and fresh. The current iceberg lettuces in the fields are small, but the cores are always crisp and great to eat, which is why we double down to give customers two instead of one.
The deal, currently only available to customers in southeast Queensland, essentially gives shoppers two lettuces for the same price as a full-size iceberg head.
Coles chief executive Craig Taylor said the supermarket was working closely with growers to help them recover as quickly as possible.
“The onset of winter has brought freezing temperatures to Australia,” he said.
“While Coles has an abundance of certain fresh fruits and vegetables like avocados, pears, oranges, kiwi fruit, onions, carrots and potatoes that offer great value, some items are in limited supply.”
Mr. Taylor continued: “A two-pack will provide value to our customers with a price in line with a single full size iceberg lettuce, and it will help our growers get the most out of their harvest while providing our customers with more supply.”
The soft plastic wrappers the lettuces are packed in can be recycled in REDCycle bins located in Coles supermarkets.
Many Australians have been hit by the exorbitant price of icebergs as well as many businesses – with huge brands such as KFC, Subway and Porto being forced to switch to a ‘cabbage and lettuce mix’ on burgers and sandwiches in response to the crisis.
Meanwhile, some pubs are replacing the typical side salad that sits alongside fan-favorite chicken parmigiana, with coleslaw-style coleslaw.
3AW Breakfast radio hosts Ross Stevenson and Russel Howcroft recently posted a photo of a receipt from a Chinese restaurant on their Twitter account, pointing out a “cheeky” $1 surcharge on their dish of san choi bao.
“That’s cheeky… Lettuce is surely a building block of organic san choi, not an optional extra,” reads the caption accompanying the photo.
Some Twitter users seemed taken aback by the supplement, with one follower calling it “ridiculous”.
“Things I didn’t predict I would see in 2022…lettuce supplement,” wrote another.
“It happens on stage, only TV and radio hosts can afford lettuce now,” another wrote.