In a bid to prevent badly affected crops from “going to waste” the supermarket giant is selling iceberg lettuces with a visible difference.
It’s the grocery staple that has skyrocketed to rather absurd prices recently – but now Coles has stepped in to get iceberg lettuce back on our plates.
The green leafy vegetable is currently in short supply after recent flooding events in Queensland and NSW.
The brutal cold snap has also badly affected crops.
As a result, prices of lettuces have soared, hitting as high as $12 a head in some parts of the country – up from its regular price of around $2.80.
But in a bid to help Aussies enjoy the “quintessential” salad ingredient again, Coles has announced it is now selling two “smaller” icebergs for $6.50.
While these lettuces haven’t fully grown due to the uncharacteristically cold elements, they are still “delicious and in fantastic condition”, the supermarket giant said.
The deal also allows growers in Queensland’s Lockyer Valley to utilise some of the iceberg lettuce crops that have been impacted and will improve availability for customers.
Matt Hood, from Rugby Farm, explained the lettuce offer was a great way to ensure the affected crops “don’t go to waste”.
“We’ve had devastating floods earlier this year, ongoing heavy rainfall, recent cold weather and lower levels of sunlight and that means we’ve struggled to get our lettuces to grow to a big enough size that customers would expect,” he said.
“We are so pleased to work with Coles to produce a product that will still be delicious and fresh. The current iceberg lettuces in the fields are small, however the hearts are still crisp and great for eating, which is why we are doubling up 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 of one full-sized iceberg head.
Coles general manager of produce Craig Taylor said the supermarket was working closely with growers to help them recover as quickly as possible.
“The onset of winter has brought some freezing temperatures around Australia,” he said.
“While Coles has an abundance of certain fresh fruit and vegetables like avocados, pears, oranges, kiwi fruit, onions, carrots and potatoes that offer great value, some items are in restricted supply.”
Mr Taylor continued: “A two pack will offer value to our customers with a price in line with a single full size iceberg lettuce, and it will help our growers make the most of their crops while giving our customers more supply.”
The soft-plastic packaging that the lettuces are packed in can be recycled in REDCycle bins located at Coles supermarkets.
Many Australians have been affected by the eye-watering price of icebergs as well as many businesses – with huge brands including KFC, Subway and Oporto being forced to switch to a “cabbage and lettuce blend” on burgers and sandwiches in response to the crisis.
Some pubs meanwhile are replacing the typical side salad that sits alongside the fan favourite chicken parmigiana, with a coleslaw-style cabbage salad.
3AW Breakfast radio hosts Ross Stevenson and Russel Howcroft posted a photo of a receipt from a Chinese restaurant to their Twitter account recently, highlighting a “cheeky” surcharge of $1 on its san choi bao dish.
“This is cheeky … Surely the lettuce is a constituent element of san choi bio, not an optional extra,” the caption accompanying the photo said.
Some Twitter users appeared surprised by the surcharge, with one follower blasting it as “ridiculous”.
“Things I did not predict I would see in 2022 … lettuce surcharge,” another wrote.
“It’s getting to the stage only TV and radio hosts can now afford lettuce,” yet another wrote.