Lamb roasts hit $50 as red meat prices soar
SUPERMARKETS and butchers across the country have been forced to jack up the price of lamb and beef amid soaring prices caused by ongoing drought conditions.
Strong export demand from Asia is also leading to higher prices.
According to the ABS, meat and seafood prices rose 1.6 per cent in the December quarter, led by lamb and goat which increased 6.3 per cent. A typical 2.5kg lamb roast now costs nearly $34 at the major supermarkets and up to $50 at some butchers.
Independent Sydney butchers told The Daily Telegraph they had been forced to raise the price of red meat by as much as 15 per cent in the past 18 months amid supplier cost increases of up to 25 per cent.
Coles, Woolworths and Aldi all confirmed they had raised their prices.
"Food prices have been largely stable across the board, but we continue to monitor commodity markets and feedback from our suppliers closely," said Woolworths head of meat Chris Croese.
"The drought has increased the price of beef and lamb on livestock markets and we've been working to absorb as much of these cost pressures as we can over the past year. We understand the cost-of-living pressures facing Australian families and continue to focus on delivering competitive meat prices for our customers."
Coles said it had a "proud Australian-first sourcing policy and 100 per cent of our fresh meat is sourced from Australian farms".
"Recently, we have seen increased cattle and lamb prices in Australia, due to a number of factors including export demand, grain pricing, and drought conditions," a spokeswoman said.
"As a result, the wholesale cost of some red meat products have risen.
"Coles has sought to absorb some of this increased cost in order to continue providing customers value, however the price of some products has been increased to reflect a portion of the higher sourcing costs."
An Aldi spokeswoman said, "All of our fresh meat products are 100 per cent Australian sourced, however weather conditions including the drought do impact our supply chain. We adjust the price of our fresh meat according to market conditions."