Food prices pick up

food, fruit, vegetablesIn January 2015, food prices rose 1.3 per cent, according to Statistics New Zealand.

The growth follows a 0.3 per cent rise in December and a 0.5 per cent fall in November.

Seasonally higher fruit and vegetable prices were partly countered by lower prices for chicken, energy drinks, and yoghurt.

Fruit and vegetable prices in the month rose 8.3 per cent, influenced by higher prices for both fruit and vegetables.

Apples, strawberries, kiwifruit, tomatoes, and lettuce contributed to the price rise, with apple prices at their highest level since the series began – averaging $4.77 per kilo, compared with $4.20 a year ago.

New season apples arrived later than usual this January, and in smaller volumes, due to adverse weather conditions in spring. Kiwifruit prices are at their highest level since peaks in February and March 2009.

Grocery food prices rose 0.6 per cent, with higher prices for confectionery, nuts, and snacks reflecting less discounting on chocolate. Lower prices for yoghurt partly countered this rise.

Meat, poultry, and fish prices rose 0.5 per cent, with higher prices for lamb being partly offset by lower prices for chicken. Chicken prices fell 2.8 per cent from their peak last month.

Prices for non-alcoholic beverages fell 0.4 per cent, reflecting more discounting on energy drinks, countered by less discounting on soft drinks.

Annual change in prices

In the year to January 2015, food prices increased 1.2 per cent, following a one per cent increase in the year to December 2014.

Fruit and vegetable prices increased seven per cent. Prices were higher for lettuce, potatoes, pumpkin, apples, and nectarines, while prices for kumara and tomatoes were lower.

Meat, poultry, and fish prices increased 2.8 per cent, reflecting higher prices for beef (up 6.4 per cent) and processed meat (up 2.8 per cent).

Grocery food prices decreased 1.7 per cent in the year to January, influenced by lower bread prices (down 12 per cent).

Supermarkets discounting private brand bread over the latter part of the last year contributed to the lower bread prices. Prices for chocolate, butter, and cheese also decreased. Higher prices for fresh milk and sauces partly offset the price decreases.

The food price index measures the rate of price change of food and food services purchased by households.

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