Cost of living: Primo Foods prices rise amid staff shortages, inflation

Consumers purchasing Primo Foods products are digging a little deeper into their pockets at the checkout, after the Australian meat company hiked their prices by around 6 per cent.

The ham, bacon and salami company, acquired by JBS in 2015increased ticket prices in May to combat the rising cost of living and heightened demand for their products.

Growing transport and material prices also contributed to the rise, with the company raising product prices to counteract these costs.

“We see a lot of inflation coming through and hitting us,” chief operations officer Bruce Sabatta told the Australian Financial Review.

Primo Foods is one of Australia’s largest raw, bacon and salami sellers, and stock their items at Woolworths and Coles.

A 750g pack of Primo shortcut bacon now costs $15.50, which is $5 more than a 1kg pack of Woolworths homebrand shortcut bacon.

Meanwhile, 1kg of the company’s cocktail frankfurts will now set you back $6.90, which is $1.60 more than the Woolworths equivalent.

Fast food chains Domino’s and Pizza Hut are also loyal customers of the brand, so the price hike may influence whether the respective restaurants heighten their own product prices.

But as interest in the company’s products surges, the company is struggling to keep up with demand due to staff shortages.

The company currently has 140 vacant roles including positions open for process workers, maintenance staff and managerial roles.

There’s also an additional 130 positions to fill as the company hopes to ramp up production.

Mr Sabatta says international travel bans throughout the pandemic and Covid-19 pressures on abattoirs contributed to the loss of staff.

In turn, the company is grappling with increasing orders.

“We’ve got demand outstripping what we can produce,” Mr Sabatta said

May’s hike might not be the last with Mr Sabatta “assessing” the possibility of initiating further rises.

“We’ll have to look at it. We’re still working through the implications,” he said.

Primo’s price hike may be a sign of things to come for the meat industry as retailers and agriculture experts warn that a foot and mouth disease outbreak could see prices soar.

“You wouldn’t be able to buy (meat) and prices would go through the roof. If people think meat and dairy is expensive now … brace yourself,” CEO of independent farming systems group, Riverine Plains, Catherine Marriott, told news.com.au.

This comes on top of Covid-19 contributing to meat supply shortages as staff shortfalls in abattoirs and delivery drivers delay stock from being put on fridge shelves.

Data collected by grocery comparison app Frugl Groceryfound red meat prices had skyrocketed in the last year by 14.6 per cent.

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