SUPERMARKET giant Woolworths is set to cut fresh produce prices over Christmas.
Woolworths announced today it will cut the price of Woolworths brand Christmas leg hams by up to $18 a ham.
This is a $2/kg reduction, bringing the price of the hams to $6.99/kg.
Head of fresh meat Andrew Goudie said this was the cheapest he'd seen ham in his 27-year career as a Woolworths butcher.
Woolworths group retail communications manager Kristen Young assured The Weekly Times the price cuts would be absorbed by the supermarket, not farmers.
Ms Young said the price cuts were part of the supermarket’s For Less For Families campaign that will run until Christmas.
"We sourced these hams through our regular growers and put our own price reduction on them,'' Ms Young said.
But Victorian Farmers Federation Pig Group president John Bourke said it cost $8/kg to produce leg ham.
"Our costs of production have increased by 40 cents a kilo in the past two months because the price of grain has gone up by $100 a tonne,'' Mr Bourke said.
"We're not going to get $8/kg at that rate, and we have to compete with imports as well.
"At the end of the day supermarkets can do what they like because they have such high margins.''
Last year Woolworths sold 1800 tonnes of cooked on the bone leg ham, averaging 7-9kg each, and expects this to increase by 25 per cent.
All of the hams sold by Woolworths are 100 per cent Australian pork.
The chain will also drop the price of 21 ``key Christmas items'', some of which will be fresh Australian produce such as fruit, vegetables and other meat.
"We planned for this pricing in January and will announce different items in the lead up to Christmas,'' Ms Young said.
She said all price cuts would be absorbed by Woolworths.
Coles general manager of corporate affairs Robert Hadler said there would be no Christmas price war.
"Our focus will be on selling quality farm produce,'' Mr Hadler said.
Coles local communications manager Julia Balderstone said Coles locked in prices for Christmas produce six months ago and any price cuts would be absorbed by the supermarket, not producers.