Countdown grocery prices’ downward trend

CountdownCountdown’s grocery prices continued on a downward trend, with the supermarket giant’s data showing a decrease of 0.8 per cent in April 2016 compared to the previous year.

The latest Countdown decrease follows on from an overall decrease in food prices nationwide last month of 0.1 per cent, according to data released by Statistics New Zealand in the March Food Price Index. The April Food Price Index is due to be released this week.

Countdown’s April data showed overall basket prices are again down, despite higher produce prices for the period. Produce items in the Countdown basket increased by 10.4 per cent, due largely to higher market prices on avocados, grapes and tomatoes.

Countdown tracks a basket of 100 of the most commonly purchased items in their stores. The basket includes meat, produce and dairy items where there can be substantial seasonal and commodity price variations.

Chris Fisher, Countdown’s general manager, said a range of factors have driven higher produce prices in April.

“Tomatoes were impacted by warmer temperatures earlier in the season which brought the growing season forward. This meant plenty of stock in January and February, but we’re now facing lower stock levels at the season’s tail end,” said Fisher.

“Avocados are a biannual crop with a large and small season. This year the small season fell in April, affecting stock levels. Avocado lovers will be pleased to hear however that the new season starts mid-June and it’s shaping up to be a bumper crop,” he added.

Other produce factors include higher imported grape prices as a result of the low Kiwi dollar.

Fisher said Countdown has been focused on driving down the price of groceries to help make food more affordable for Kiwis.

“While some pricing factors will always be out of our control, we continue to make a positive difference to food affordability in New Zealand and deliver savings through great specials and our Price Lockdown programme,” Fisher said.

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