Woolies, Coles on notice over price of Christmas ham amid concerns Aussies could cancel holiday

The supermarket giants have been put on notice not to hike up the price of a leg of Christmas ham ahead of the festive season.

Firing a warning shot at Coles and Woolworths, Agriculture Minister Murray Watt has encouraged the supermarkets to put a price freeze on the holiday staple so families can plan ahead, and nobody is forced to go without.

“We know families are doing it tough at the moment and the cost of a lot of things is going up,” the Queensland senator said.

“It’s time for supermarkets to do their part and say one thing we won’t put up is the price of a Christmas ham.”

He said guaranteeing the price of ham would allow families to carve up their budgets in the weeks, not days leading up to the holiday.

Coles and Woolworths have both insisted they will not be looking to hike up prices as it gets closer to the silly season.

In a statement, Woolworths noted their prices had lowered to $8kg — the lowest since 2014.

Managing Director Natalie Dav said it would help “budgets go further this year”.

Coles has also dropped the price of its Christmas ham to $8, with a spokesman saying Coles has “worked hard to ensure it delivers great value on Christmas favourites”.

Both supermarkets have also committed to dropping their prices on several staple items, including sausages and chicken wings – though neither has committed to freezing the price of a Christmas ham.

But Senator Watt acknowledged it was going to be a tough time for many families.

“Presents for the kids, fuel to get to the other side of town to see your parents, fresh seafood as well as drinks, the cost of Christmas can really add up,” he said.

“Anything that can be done to give families a hand during this time would really be beneficial.”

The call comes as the rising cost of living has many Australians turning to credit cards to finance Christmas with many racking up debts they can’t pay back.

More than one in 10 (11 per cent) of Aussies will turn to plastic this year while 7 per cent of cash strapped shoppers will turn to buy now pay later services, according to Finder.

The research suggests the average Australian is expected to spend $1,479 this Christmas on presents, food, alcohol, eating out and travel.

Half of consumers (49 per cent) will dip into their savings account to fund Christmas, while almost 1 in 3 Aussies (27 per cent) don’t plan on buying anything this holiday season.

Originally published as Woolies, Coles on notice over cost of popular Xmas item, concerns Aussies could cancel holiday