A restaurant receipt has revealed a sneaky new surcharge for a popular ingredient, as a dire shortage grips the nation.
As if cabbage on your Zinger Tower wasn’t bad enough, Australia’s lettuce shortage has hit a dismal new low as one diner reported being slugged with a surcharge for the popular vegetable.
3AW Breakfast radio hosts Ross Stevenson and Russel Howcroft posted a photo of a receipt from a Chinese restaurant to their Twitter account, highlighting the unusual addition to their bill.
Amid the orders — totalling more than $386 of scallops, soft pot, prawn toast, peking duck and peppered beef — there was a single order for san choi bao. Below it there was another charge – a lettuce cup for $1.
“This is cheeky… Surely the lettuce is a constituent element of san choi bio, not an optional extra,” the caption accompanying the photo said.
Some Twitter users appeared surprised by the surcharge, with one follower blasting it as “ridiculous”.
“Things I did not predict I would see in 2022… lettuce surcharge,” another wrote.
“It’s getting to the stage only TV and radio hosts can now afford lettuce,” yet another wrote.
Meanwhile, some followers took issue with the price of other dishes.
“Forget the lettuce ($3 – 5 wholesale) I can’t get past the 2 x scallops at $28 bucks each,” one person wrote.
“Forget the lettuce: $45 for half a duck?” another wrote.
The move comes after restaurants around the nation have had to respond to a major shortage of lettuces.
KFC said recent flooding events in Queensland and NSW could impact burgers like the popular Zinger.
Consumers in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, the ACT and Tasmania were advised that they might have a “temporary blend” of lettuce and cabbage in their meals to make up for the shortage.
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Some pubs, meanwhile, are replacing the typical side salad that sits alongside the fan favorite chicken parmigiana, with a coleslaw-style cabbage salad.
Fresh produce prices have skyrocketed in recent weeks due to a wetter-than-average start to the year and flooding in southern Queensland, resulting in a massive shortage of fruit and vegetables.
As a result, the cost of everyday items has risen sharply, with iceberg lettuce up to $12 in some supermarkets.
At this time of year, most of the vegetables stocked in Australian supermarkets come from southern Queensland, but three months of intense rain and flooding have all but wiped out crops.
Catherine Velisha, managing director of Victorian farming group Velisha Farms, said it was not only a painful time for consumers but the entire supply chain.
“No one is winning, including retailers,” she told the Nine Network.
“Farmers, retailers, we have all the same issues as what consumers are having at the moment.
“The reason why prices are so dear is because there is not much stock around. Farmers who should be harvesting 100 to 200 pallets a day are maybe down to 10 pallets.”
Lettuce, potatoes, beetroot, broccoli, beans, tomatoes and capsicums are among the fresh produce crops decimated by flooding in the Lockyer Valley and Granite Belt regions of southern Queensland.
Prices of strawberries and blueberries have also more than tripled due to flooding in northern NSW.
– with NCA NewsWire