IT'S a surprise that it's a surprise.
Surely Australians realise by now the vulnerability of crops to major weather events and how that will impact their grocery bill?
Obviously not, as consumers posted outcries over the humble lettuce edging past $10 per head in the past month.
In these modern, shouty times, it's hard to keep up with who/what to blame for this culinary crisis- was it inflation? Gas prices? The war in the Ukraine? COVID? The "previous government"? Climate change? Clive Palmer?
It seems all of these (perhaps not Clive) have been linked to the price jump but in reality, the biggest factor was the flooding in Queensland's Lockyer Valley region earlier this year, which wiped out major vegetable crops.
The area provides most of the country's lettuce at this time of year.
The more frivolous citizens announced how costly it had become to be a guinea pig breeder.
Some suggested those with illegal hydroponic drug production would be replacing their cannabis crops for lettuce due to the higher profit margin.
Those same observers may mistakenly be thinking any remaining lettuce growers were currently out buying yachts and Louis Vuitton luggage.
Banana growers are familiar with this cycle.
Every time a major storm or cyclone rips apart areas of North Queensland, the price of the fruit skyrockets, and the mainstream media demands to know why.
It shows a worrying disconnect between metropolitan dwellers and primary production.
What if the jump was like fuel, where it's unlikely to ever return to previous levels?
Would the food service industry, hotels, clubs, snack chains, catering businesses and families be willing to fork out higher prices for lettuce?
Most Aussies aren't eating enough vegetables so it's amusing when there's an uprising over having to spend more, as if they were just about to buy up and "get healthy" when it suddenly got too expensive to do so.
Both Kentucky Fried Chicken and Subway added to the frenzy when they announced they'd be supplementing cabbage for lettuce on their products.
That was welcomed by some but didn't go down well with others, according to the InstaTwitTokFaceTubeoGram crowd.
As one industry insider pointed out, at least the headlines and social media banter have pushed vegetables into the spotlight.
It has people talking about the food supply chain, perhaps making many realise it's not a matter of turning on the tap to instantly have lettuce on the dinner plate.
It takes planning, science and lots of work to get the vegetable from farm to fridge.
Considering that, it's quite reasonable fresh vegetables and fruit should cost more and be highly appreciated.
That shouldn't really come as a surprise.
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