Tomatoes selling for 9 cents a kg at Hawke's Bay supermarket

Shoppers at a Hawke's Bay PAK'nSAVE flocked to the vege aisle as word of cheap tomatoes got out. 

The deal - one kilogram of tomatoes for 9 cents - got shoppers in such disbelief, the supermarket had to limit the number of bags each customer could buy.

"We're going a bit saucy," one shopper told Newshub.

"Wow, I didn't see that!"

"My son's a chef and he sent me here to come and get them. I said are you sure it's 9 cents… I think it's meant to be 90 cents," another said.

And the reason for the low price? 

"Stickman [the iconic PAK'nSAVE marketing character] did give us a word that we needed a good vege deal, we hadn't had one in a while," PAK'nSAVE manager Julian Gibbs says.

Stickman's deals aside, there's a more likely reason.

Tomatoes NZ general manager Helen Barnes tells Newshub greater supply results in great prices.

"Growers have been unable to export as much as they normally would so we've got a greater supply in the market at the moment and it's resulting in really great prices for consumers," she says.

These tomatoes are worth far less than the cost of picking them. But for those picking them, it's a different story.

"Growers are really feeling the pain at the moment with these prices and they won't be making a profit at 9c a kilo," Barnes says.

PAK'nSAVE did add limits to how much you could buy.

"Ten kilos per customer which is about two big bags - which will cost about 90 cents for that," Gibbs says.

Tomatoes NZ says it's a once-in-a-blue-moon deal.

"Probably 10 years ago when we couldn't export to Australia and the prices did go very low but nothing like this," Barnes says.

But customers plan to stretch those 9 cents to a winter's worth of food.

"Going to go home and make relish," one says.

Relishing a deal - almost too good to believe.