It's a week out from Halloween but the price of pumpkins are enough to make you jump in fright: at some retailers, a pre-cut quarter of the orange vegetable costs nearly $6.

Pumpkins are sold by weight, and prices were up due to a poor growing season and persistent wet weather, representatives for both major supermarket chains said.

Extreme weather has been playing havoc with produce prices since April when two cyclones hit growing areas in the North Island.

The price per kilo fluctuated between just under $4.50 and nearly $7 at the five retailers the Herald checked on Tuesday afternoon, with the cheapest price found at Pak N Save in Mt Albert for $4.49.

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At New World in Victoria Park the price was a dollar more per kilo at $5.49, and shot up to $5.99 at both Farro Fresh and Fruit World in Grey Lynn.

The most expensive pumpkin seen on shelves was at Countdown in Grey Lynn, where a slice of pumpkin weighing just over 800g cost $5.77.

The price per kilo was a whopping $6.99.

Countdown's pumpkins were the most expensive, at $6.99/ kilo. Photo / Tess Nichol
Countdown's pumpkins were the most expensive, at $6.99/ kilo. Photo / Tess Nichol

This was the result of bad weather but also the end of pumpkin season putting pressure on supply, Countdown merchandise manager Steve Sexton said.

"This year has been particularly challenging for growers. We have had unusually high rainfall which has impacted seasonal prices and has meant increases on a variety of fruit and veges."

He suggested shoppers instead buy in season produce, including new season strawberries, asparagus, beans and broccoli if they wanted cheaper prices.

At one Pak N Save in Hawke's Bay pumpkin was $5.59kg and one half was selling for $10.06.

On Twitter, a horrified shopper posted a photo of the vegetable, with the caption "outraged".

However, Foodstuffs spokeswoman Antoinette Laird said the pumpkin half was large, weighing nearly 2kg.

Nevertheless prices were high at the moment, she said.

"Pumpkin pricing is up due to a poor growing season and there are limited volumes available.

"The new season starts in January, so we can expect some easing from that point on - if the weather plays ball."

Not such a nice price for pumpkin at Pak N Save, but cheaper than at competitors. Photo / Tess Nichol
Not such a nice price for pumpkin at Pak N Save, but cheaper than at competitors. Photo / Tess Nichol

Laird suggested people opt for frozen veges while they weathered the price hikes affecting more than just pumpkin.

The latest consumer price index showed food prices had risen yet again in, with dairy and butter prices having some impact on the overall increase of 3 per cent for the year to September.

Vegetable prices rose 6.5 per cent in the last year, led by higher prices for kumara and potatoes.

This August a kilo of kumara was $8, up from $3.23 in August last year.

Kumara at all four retailers we visited remained stubbornly high at $8.99kg, rising to $9.99kg at Farro Fresh.