Christmas ham prices up and up

Owner of Hughes Butchery in North Bundaberg Paul McSween says pork is short supply which is reflected in higher prices.
Owner of Hughes Butchery in North Bundaberg Paul McSween says pork is short supply which is reflected in higher prices. Ron Burgin

THE humble leg of ham is vital to most Christmas tables but Bundaberg butchers are warning shoppers not to be surprised when it comes to the price.

Hughes Butchery owner Paul McSween said due to a demand the price of pork had increased between $1 and $2 a kilogram compared to Christmas time last year.

“Due to the lack of supply there is not as many available,” he said.

Mr McSween said the price increase could be attributed to many things.

“Normally what happens is pig prices drop a bit after Christmas and then stay steady until about August-September when they peak, but this year they did not drop,” he said.

Mr McSween also listed a rise in transport costs, power costs and real estate as factors which could have contributed to the rise in price.

Mr McSween warned that pork prices would continue to rise.

“It’s a real supply and demand thing — farmers aren’t getting the support; so many are leaving and the next generation of farmers just don’t want to continue,” he said.

Ken’s Kepnock Butchery owner Ken Barritt said he had also experienced a rise in ham prices but it had not deterred his customers.

“They have no worries at all — especially if they are buying off local butchers,” he said.

Mr Barritt attributed the price rise in part to the sale of one of Australia’s largest pork farms earlier in the year which interrupted the farming process.

“There was a shortage of fresh ham this year,” he said.

Mr Barritt said there had been pressure on everyone this year to get in quality pork.

Both Mr Barritt and Mr McSween urged Christmas ham searchers to visit their local butchery as then they could be guaranteed a locally-grown, high-quality meat.

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