Woolworths boss warns cherries, potatoes shortage ahead of Christmas

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Woolworths boss warns cherries, potatoes shortage ahead of Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner but one supermarket giant is already warning there could be shortages of some holiday favourites.

Amid the cost of living crisis, supply shortages, a pandemic and new wave of cyber crimes, Aussies are facing the possibility of a Christmas without cherries and potatoes.

On Monday, Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said there could be a delay on popular fruits and veggies due to the weather and ongoing supply chain issues.

In a letter to customers, Mr Banducci said: “The supermarket was working hard to ensure there is enough stock of everything ahead of the silly season.

“As the La Nina rains continue on the eastern seaboard, we may see a delayed start to the season for some fresh fruits and vegetables, including cherries and stone fruits.”

Mr Banducci said the poor weather, especially across Tasmania, had also impacted their supply of frozen fruits and veggies like corn and potatoes, as well as potato crisps.

“In good news, mango season is upon us with more supply on the way,” Mr Banducci said.

“In many ways, Christmas remains a rare constant after another uncertain year, with Covid, floods, other natural disasters and of course the growing pressures on the cost of living.”

The current cost of living crisis, which has seen food inflation elevated, now over 7 per cent, isn’t putting the brakes on those getting a head start on holiday shopping, however.

The Woolworths Group, who also own Big W said people’s Christmas planning and shopping are well underway, with decoration sales at Big W already “robust.”

“Buying gifts is also off to an early start, with many customers telling us they plan to take advantage of Black Friday (November 25) and Cyber Monday (November 28).”

Both Woolworths and Big W recently made headlines as they announced they would no longer stock Christmas decorations with glitter on them, in an attempt to reduce their environmental footprint.

In a statement, The Woolworths Group said glitter, made of microplastics, is toxic for the environment.

Woolworths Group general manager of sustainability Liam Ward said the effort is a small but meaningful way customers can deliver Christmas cheer without harshly impacting the environment.

“We know there‘s more we can do and we’re working to reduce glitter across our entire range in Woolworths and Big W,” Mr Ward said.

Mr Banducci also addressed the current cyber crime issues across the nation, and reassured customers their personal data is safe with Woolies.

“Given the high-profile cyber security events in Australia recently, I wanted to reassure you how seriously we take the security of your identity and data.”

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