Food prices see-saw

bananas, mango, fruit, food, grocerFood prices in February have evened out the previous month’s rise, falling 0.7 per cent, according to Statistics New Zealand.

Prices spiked 1.3 per cent in January, following a 0.3 per cent rise in December.

Despite this, the decline wasn’t enough to counteract a year on year growth in food prices of 1.5 per cent.

On an annual basis, fruit and vegetable prices increased 11 per cent. Prices were higher for lettuce, apples, potatoes, pumpkin, broccoli, and carrots, while prices for tomatoes were lower.

Meat, poultry, and fish prices increased 3.1 per cent year on year, reflecting higher prices for beef, which were up 9.6 per cent.

Grocery food prices decreased 2.3 per cent in the year to February, influenced by lower bread prices, down 12 per cent. Supermarkets discounting some own-brand bread to $1 from the second half of last year contributed to the lower bread prices. Prices for snack foods, butter, cheese, and chocolate also decreased, while fresh milk prices increased for the year.

Month on month figures

In February, a 2.4 per cent fall in fruit and vegetable prices was influenced by seasonal price falls for both fruit, down 2.8 per cent, and vegetables, down 2.1 per cent. The main downward contributions came from apples and tomatoes, partly countered by higher prices for strawberries.

Apple prices fell 23 per cent from a peak in January, but are still 25 percent higher than a year earlier. New season apples arrived later than usual in January, and in smaller volumes due to adverse weather conditions in spring.

Lower prices for meat, poultry, and fish, down 1.6 per cent, were influenced by lower prices for all types of meat, particularly lamb, beef, and chicken. Prices for beef and chicken peaked in January 2015 and December 2014 respectively.

Grocery food prices fell 0.6 per cent, with lower prices for snack foods, yoghurt, chocolate, and bread. These falls were partly countered by higher prices for sweets. The price of boxed chocolates, down 16 per cent, falls every February, when Valentine’s Day occurs.

Prices for non-alcoholic beverages rose 1.1 per cent, reflecting less discounting on energy drinks, soft drinks, and packaged coffee.


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