New Zealand food prices dip

fruits and vegetablesFood prices in New Zealand fell for the sixth time in seven months, Statistics New Zealand announced on Friday.

Food prices dipped 0.6 per cent in February, turning around a 2-per cent increase in January. This was influenced by seasonally lower fruit and vegetable prices.

On an annual basis, prices were down 0.5 per cent, its fifth month in a row where prices were lower than the previous year.

Vegetable prices fell 2.7 percent, led by lower prices for tomatoes, onions, and celery. After seasonal adjustment, vegetable prices fell 1.2 percent. Fruit prices fell 2.5 percent, with lower prices for apples and grapes – after seasonal adjustment fruit prices showed a rise of 1.3 percent.

Grocery food prices fell 0.3 percent, influenced by snack foods (down 4.8 percent), cheese (down 3.9 percent), and chocolate (down 3.1 percent).

“The average price of a 150 gram bag of potato chips was $1.69, down 3.4 percent from January. Potato chip prices are at their lowest level since July 2010,” consumer prices manager Matt Haigh said.

Meat, poultry, and fish prices fell 0.5 percent, driven by lower prices for chicken and processed meats. These were slightly offset by record-high prices for beef – the average price for a kilo of porterhouse steak was $29.37.

The only sub-group to rise in February were restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices, up 0.1 per cent for an annual increase of 2 per cent.

Non-alcoholic beverage prices were 1.5 percent lower than a year ago, mainly influenced by lower prices for coffee and energy drinks. The average price for 100 grams of instant coffee decreased 9.1 percent to $5.71, compared with $6.28 in February 2015.

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