Australian supermarkets in holiday price war over lamb

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Australian supermarkets in holiday price war over lamb
Credit: © Reuters.

In the wake of a cost-of-living crisis in Australia, supermarkets Woolworths and Coles are engaged in a fierce price competition over lamb products this holiday season. This comes as Australians are predicted to spend an average of $249 per person on Christmas food, according to Finder research.

Today, Woolworths is offering a 20% discount on 26 lamb items from November 8 to December 27, 2023, under its "Prices Dropped for Christmas" program. This initiative includes significant price reductions on lamb leg roast, lamb forequarter chops, and lamb mince. The Managing Director of Woolworths, Natalie Davis, highlighted that this initiative complements the price cuts on over 150 Christmas staples. Notably, the price of the lamb leg roast has been reduced to $8 per kilogram—a significant drop from $15 per kilogram since June and more than a 45% overall reduction.

In addition to these discounts, Woolworths has set a nine-year low price for half leg hams at $8/kg and expects to sell around 1.7 million kilograms of lamb leg roast this festive season. These discounts follow the earlier "Prices Dropped for Spring" campaign, indicating further savings for consumers.

Meanwhile, Coles has also reduced its prices on various lamb products. A half leg roast at Coles is now priced at $10 per kilogram, down from $20.88 in September. While both supermarkets offer lamb forequarter chops at $16 per kilogram, Coles offers cheaper lamb cutlets ($33 per kilo) and loin chops ($18 per kilo) compared to Woolworths ($34 and $22 respectively).

These price cuts come as Australia's sheep population swells to around 79 million due to favorable weather conditions leading to increased breeding. However, the onset of El Nino is causing drier conditions, prompting farmers to offload large quantities of livestock due to drought fears. This has resulted in an extra supply of meat but has also created supply chain bottlenecks due to labor issues and the rising costs of processing and transporting meat. Despite these challenges, 70% of Australia’s lamb is still exported overseas.

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