More than 40 per cent of Australians could be without enough food to eat by the end of the year, with a major supermarket chain warning prices could plunge as much as 70 per cent.
The Australian Greens say a new study by the supermarket giant Coles and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows the country is on track for a “significant” food price drop.
It says there are already two major supermarket chains that have been told to slash prices for most items by 70 per or more per cent by the middle of next year, but this is the first time the industry has gone public with its assessment.
It’s an assessment made by the Australian Food Safety Authority, which is responsible for testing food in Australia.
The report said a 40 per of one per cent increase in supermarket prices is forecast for 2017.
This is a big number, which means you can imagine that when the food price rises we could see a substantial drop in the food intake of Australian children and adults, the Greens said.
“We’re expecting that price rises in the coming months and years could exceed those in the United States and other major markets,” Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.
The Greens are calling on the Australian Government to immediately put a price freeze on all food to protect the food supply and ensure Australians have enough to eat.
The supermarket chain Coles is one of the supermarkets facing a big price hike.
A Coles spokesperson said they have had to make tough choices on a number of items and it is too early to assess the impact of these price changes.
“In 2017 we will continue to invest in the sustainability of our food supply,” the Coles statement said.
It is not the first year the supermarket chain has faced pressure over food prices.
Last year Coles said it would cut the price of some supermarket items by 20 per cent as part of a price cut to offset the rise in costs of the commodity, like sugar and wheat.
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