Australia’s lettuce shortage has taken a bite out of Subway’s ability to deliver items on its menu.
Shortly after fried chicken giant KFC revealed it would use a “temporary blend of lettuce and cabbage” to deal with supply chain troubles, Subway follows suit.
As a head of Lettuce tops $10 in some Australian locations, the sandwich maker warned it was struggling to meet demand.
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“Being a fresh food company means riding the ups and downs of fresh produce,” Subway wrote on its website.
“We’re currently facing a shortage of Lettuce from our local farmers.
“So in the short-term, we’ll be mixing lettuce with cabbage … while more lettuce is coming.”
Subway has been sought to comment on how the lettuce shortages impact Western Australian stores.
Camera IconAs a head of Lettuce tops $10 in some Australian locations; the sandwich maker warned it was struggling to meet demand. Credit: Ted S. Warren/AP
It comes after news from KFC that a lettuce shortage caused by recent flooding in Queensland and NSW was to blame for the move to a cabbage-lettuce mix – which could impact burgers like the popular Zinger.
“We’ve hit a bit of an Iceberg and are currently experiencing some lettuce supply chain disruptions due to the impacts of the recent Queensland and NSW floods,” it said to customers.
“This means you may see a temporary blend of Lettuce and cabbage throughout KFC restaurants in NSW, VIC, QLD, ACT, and TAS during these shortages.
“If that’s not your bag, simply click ‘customize’ on your chosen product and remove Lettuce from the recipe.
“We’re working with our multiple suppliers to support them, but we expect disruptions to continue in the coming days.”
West Aussie customers are not understood to have been impacted.
Experts say that labor shortages, the cost of raw materials, war, and the rising cost of fuel and utilities are among the factors impacting the price of groceries.
At the Global Food Forum, Coles chief executive Steven Cain said Australia had a labor crisis across many sectors.
“It’s been compounded by what’s going on with COVID and the flu. Our absenteeism today is twice normal with COVID and the flu, and the churn rate in most industries is increasing,” he said.
Mr. Cain said grocery suppliers were also calling for further price hikes.
“We have got five times as many requests for price increases as last year. Five times,” he said.
Camera IconKFC is experiencing a shortage of Lettuce. Credit: Supplied
Meanwhile, a major business group fears the economy could enter a “death spiral” of rising wages growth, inflation, and interest rates following the Reserve Bank of Australia’s biggest cash rate hike in more than 20 years.
Lifting the cash rate by 50 basis points to 0.85 percent after Tuesday’s monthly board meeting, RBA governor Philip Lowe said inflation had to be controlled.
The spike comes on top of the 25 basis point increase in May, the first rise in over a decade.
Ai Group chief executive Innes Willox fears the worst, saying: “We are now at risk of a wages and inflation and interest rates death spiral.”
Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Andrew McKellar said the RBA’s decision was understandable given the inflationary pressures in the economy.
Consumer confidence had been knocked over the past week amid growing cost of living pressures and anticipation of a further interest rate rise.
The weekly ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence index – a pointer to future household spending – dropped 4.1 percent to 87, its lowest level since mid-August 2020, during the initial waves of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Consumer inflation expectations also rose 0.2 percentage points to 5.7 percent, the highest result since early April.