1 Mar 2024

Kūmara prices tipped to drop as supply improves

7:11 pm on 1 March 2024

Photo: 123rf

Kūmara is back in abundance after many crops were devastated by Cyclone Gabrielle.

About 97 percent of Aotearoa's kūmara is grown in Northland due to its warm climate and good soil, but much of it was left rotting in the ground because of storm damage.

At its scarcest, some kūmara prices topped out at $14/kg.

But the new season's orange, gold and reds are back on supermarket shelves.

Foodstuffs Produce and Butchery North Island head Brigit Corson said red was about $7/kg.

Orange and gold are only just being harvested, but they are expected to halve in price to $7/kg in the next few weeks.

Corson told Checkpoint that as supply improved, those prices would come down.

"Kūmara is an amazing crop, so we use all of it.

"The big ones normally go to processing, the small scrappier ones, they get steam peeled and popped into kūmara hash, and then the ones that are just right end up in Pak'nSave, New World and Four Square for our customers.

"But over the last year, because of the shortage - big, small, medium and everything in between - we've been trying to get on our shelves and so that's why there's been a bit of a size variation for our customers."

She said in 2023, about 60 percent of the crop was wiped out.

This year the crop is expected to return to almost normal levels.

"Kūmara is a once-a-year crop. So, what happens is it gets harvested, and then it gets cold stored and just kind of released to the market.

"So we're expecting with a normal crop that we will be able to have kūmara until the new season, which kind of starts in February each year."

She said stone fruit and apple growers in the Hawke's Bay were badly impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle.

Some had lost 25 percent of their trees.

"Fortunately we've had an amazing. The stone fruit and nectarines that you're seeing in store at the moment are just outstanding and they're out of Hawke's Bay.

"So I'm still encouraging everyone: 'a stone fruit a day helps Hawke's Bay' so rip into those lovely nectarines out there at the moment."

According to Stats NZ, average kūmara prices in January 2023 were $4.37/kg, and shot up in September 2023 to $12.98/kg.

A look at the price of kūmara in different supermarkets:


Orange kūmara - $5.99/kg (discount)

Gold kūmara - $5.99/kg (discount)

Red kūmara - $5.99/kg

New World

Orange kūmara - $13.99/kg

Gold kūmara - $13.99/kg

Red kūmara - $6.99/kg


Orange kūmara - $13.99/kg

Red kūmara - $7/kg

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