Humidity is affecting North Island vegetable growers, causing shortages of some green vegetables, and some dramatic price hikes as a result.

Annette Laird, of Foodstuffs NZ, which owns the New World, Pak'nSave and Four Square brands, confirmed the weather had been causing some produce issues.

"This is especially the case with the likes of broccoli, cauliflower and fresh cut lettuce and salads, and things are likely to be a bit tight in terms of supply for a couple of weeks.

"Customers are obviously expecting lovely produce at this time of year but it is proving challenging."


At The Orchard Store at Bayview, Napier, cauliflower was in short supply, as was spinach, which had been affected by the hot growing conditions, said employee Casey McLeay.

"We get our produce locally in Onekawa and generally get good regular supplies of fresh vegetables.

"We have had funny weather though and the intense heat is causing crops like spinach to bolt and go to seed and dry out.

"Rain is the best thing, but then if there's too much then things like iceberg lettuces start to rot.

"The seasons seem to be getting more changeable and unpredictable so the prices can go up and down."

She said as retailers they tried to keep the price steady, which meant the business did not make as much money at times in an effort to keep costs down for customers.

The same was the case at Shires Fruit and Vege Market in Dannevirke, where owner Suresh Patel said everybody across the country was being affected by the humid, hot growing conditions.

"We source our produce from all around the country and have had to go as far as Waikato and Pukekohe, especially to get cauliflower."


He said that last week, the cost price of cauliflower was $8.15 and that many independent stores sold at cost or below cost in order to keep stock rotating and keep prices as low as possible.

"That's just what we have to do at the moment, but cauliflower is a good example where the price can crash again within 10 days."

He said there was still some big heads of good quality broccoli around, which Shires was selling for $4, but he said there would be a lot of stores and supermarkets putting a mark-up on that.

While the green vegetables may have spiked in price due to the shortage, on the plus-side there were some very good deals around for pumpkin and kumara, he added.

Ms Laird said frozen vegetables were always good value and a readily available alternative if the cost of fresh produce was too high for the budget.