Coronavirus: Garlic shortage likely as virus boosts demand

A shortage of garlic is looking "very likely" as New Zealanders stock up on healthy food in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, says a major grower.

Seventy percent of local garlic is grown by company Murphy's New Zealand which supplies supermarkets across the country.

CEO John Murphy said there had been strong demand since the coronavirus outbreak.

"There has been a demand in the market for garlic, because people see them as a naturally healthy product," said Murphy.

Disruption to trade and hold-ups in ports had also seen less imported product, he said.

However while there was increased demand, it had come after a poor growing season, when production was down due to last year's hail storm in Canterbury. 

Murphy said the likelihood of a garlic shortage was very likely.

"We grow 70 percent of New Zealand's garlic and unfortunately in a year when we have had more demand, but we have had a poor growing season, so our product is smaller and not as pretty as normal."

"We would love to have a big crop to send out, but unfortunately we don't."