FARMERS are paying the price for cheaper supermarket shelf prices.
Local food costs fell almost 3 per cent in the 12 months to the end of September, new Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development data shows.
The data showed Australia had the fastest-falling food prices in the world and producers were worried the drop would diminish their returns even further.
"Growers are well aware that farmgate prices have been kept artificially low and that inflation in Australia has been significantly kept under control at the expense of farmers," Fruit Growers Victoria general manager John Wilson said.
Growers have blamed supermarkets for creating the expectation that food should be cheap.
Len Rayner, from Rayner's Fruit Orchard in the Yarra Valley, said he worked hard and had "the right to make a wage the same as everybody else".
"The supermarkets have created this attitude that food should be cheap, and they ensure that by paying farmers a pittance."
Coles announced last week it had extended its discounts on Coles-brand milk and bread to its Express stores.
But many consumers complained via Coles' Facebook page that these savings weren't enough.
One requested the price of meat, fruit and vegetables be dropped.
A spokeswoman said Coles was continuing to support Australian farmers.
Australian Dairy Farmers president Noel Campbell said the move "tells us (Coles is) not going to change what they are doing (with price discounting)".
Victorian Farmers Federation horticulture group president Sue Finger said consumers "seem to think food is the only thing they have control over".
Woolworths declined to comment.