By Sally Murphy of RNZ.
We could be paying higher prices for tropical fruits like pineapples, melons and mangos this summer due to increasing freight costs.
The pandemic means fewer flights are arriving and ships are often facing weeks of delays before getting here.
Industry group United Fresh president Jerry Prendergast said that was resulting in gaps in the market.
"We would have traditionally had mangoes, for example, out of South America. There's a mango season where you'd be pulling tremendous amount of volume in container shipments but because we're not sure of its arrival dates, because there's so many delays and uncertainties, we're simply not taking the risk and bringing that product in."
Prendergast said some importers were trying to get fruit on planes but that was not proving very reliable either.
"Most importers are looking at every option that's available to them, air freight also has issues because there's simply not as many flights as normal coming into the country.
"We are seeing grapes being brought in by air freight, which we haven't traditionally seen in this country for a number of years, so when you see product that's airfreighted in you will see a higher price on that product compared to sea freight," Prendergast said.
Fresh Direct produce import manager Doug Hamilton said they were working incredibly hard to keep supply consistent but at the end of the day if the ships were not coming, they were not coming.
"Pre 2020 there would be a ship for example from the States every week. Now you're lucky to get one every three weeks, sometimes the ships are four weeks apart.
"For example grapes coming from California, when the ships arrive there, there isn't enough space to get four weeks worth of fruit on the ship - so we are constantly running out of product."
Hamilton said supply and demand meant consumers were paying more and prices would likely remain high.
"The buy price for these products is virtually the same. It's the cost of freight that's putting it up, so as long as there are freight delays and issues the prices will remain that bit higher."
Hamilton said one positive was with less fruit like grapes, pineapples and pawpaw being imported, people might eat more locally grown fruits like apples and pears.