Shoppers are paying up to $7 for a head of lettuce as post-cyclone price hikes for fresh veges continue.

Cauliflower were also pricey, selling for $7.99 at one New World and $6.49 at an Auckland Countdown - nearing the record high of $10 a head in April last year.

A wet and wild growing season has affected several growing areas in the North Island, with leafy greens particularly affected by flooding in early April.

The resulting shortages for certain vegetables meant customers had been dealing with inflated prices for autumn produce for weeks.

A letter apologises to customers for shortages of several crops at New World, Victoria Park in Auckland. Photo / Tess Nichol
A letter apologises to customers for shortages of several crops at New World, Victoria Park in Auckland. Photo / Tess Nichol

The Herald compared prices at two inner city supermarkets in Auckland on Wednesday afternoon.

At New World Victoria Park, iceberg lettuces cost $7 a head wrapped or $6.99 unwrapped and at Countdown Ponsonby they were either $4.99 or $5.49 for a wrapped head.

Bagged lettuce was also expensive, between $4 and $6 for a range of varieties at both supermarkets.

The humble cabbage was selling for $6.99 at New World, but only $2.50 at Countdown.

Spinach, which was one of the worst affected vegetables this growing season, was on special at Countdown for $1.75/ 120g, but priced much higher at New World at $8.50/ 350g.

A lack of spinach and other leafy greens had been forcing home cooking delivery service My Food Bag to substitute about 15 recipes a week since the bad weather hit.

As for the sought-after avocado, prices have risen again, to $4.49 at Countdown and $4.99 at new World.

Last time prices were this high in New Zealand there resulted a thriving avocado black market, with thieves raiding orchards to get their hands on the popular green fruit.


A Countdown spokesman said the overall decrease in supply meant Kiwis would have to wait until growers could catch up with demand before prices could fall again.

"We have really good direct relationships with our local growers and suppliers so we're doing what we can to ensure we have supply wherever possible."

Other vegetables that hadn't been affected by the weather, like leeks or carrots, were good alternatives for price-conscious shoppers.

Foodstuffs spokeswoman Antoinette Laird said the supply of broccoli and salads for Pak'n Save and New World were starting to return to normal.

"The weather destroyed both produce that was ready for harvesting as well as recently planted seedlings, which means the effects will be felt for weeks to come.

"Other green vegetables such as beans, silverbeet, lettuce and spinach are still in short supply, which means customers will notice the retail price of these vegetables is higher than usual."