Countdown’s prices drop

countdown Auckland metroFood prices from Countdown’s Basket of 100 continue to fall, showing a 0.9 per cent decrease in May 2016 compared to the previous corresponding period.

The supermarket giant said its figures showed while produce items have increased due to seasonal factors, overall basket prices are down. The 13.2 per cent increase in produce, due largely to higher market prices on seasonal goods, includes avocados, 124.4 per cent; brown onions, 31.2 per cent; green grapes, 26.3 per cent; bananas, 15.9 per cent; and tomatoes, 13 per cent.

Countdown said it is also ‘bucking the market trend’ with price decreases across some grocery categories as part of its Price Lockdown program, launched in October 2013, in spite of particularly high seasonal produce increases.

The Countdown basket’s health and beauty/cleaning prices decreased by 10.8 per cent, food and beverage prices dropped by 3.6 per cent, and delicatessen prices saw a 1.2 per cent decline.

Countdown’s Basket of 100 includes the most commonly purchased items like meat, produce and dairy items where there can be substantial seasonal and commodity price variations, as well as non-perishable grocery items.

Statistics NZ’s April’s Food Price Index showed a 0.3 per cent increase in food prices nationwide, compared to the previous month as a result of produce prices. Fruit and vegetable prices rose 8.9 per cent from April 2015 to April 2016. The Statistics New Zealand May 2016 Food Price Index is due for release later this week.

Chris Fisher, Countdown’s general manager of merchandise, said a range of factors have driven higher produce prices in May. He said across the board, avocados continue to deliver hyperinflation as stock availability dwindles.

“However the good news is that new season stock is expected to be available in late June, and indications for a large crop mean consumers should expect reduced prices,” Fisher said.

“External factors including export markets and exchange rates are affecting the supply of green grapes, bananas and brown onions. In addition, crop rotation has affected tomatoes, resulting in less product being available for consumers.”

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