Thursday, 13 December 2012 10:58

Food prices fall

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Food prices fell 0.8% in the November month as vegetable prices continued to fall, Statistics New Zealand says.


"This is the third consecutive monthly fall in food prices, reflecting seasonally cheaper vegetables," prices manager Chris Pike said. "Tomato, broccoli, and lettuce prices have been falling for the past couple of months, as they usually do at this time of year."

Three of the five food subgroups contributed to the fall in the food price index (FPI): fruit and vegetables (down 4.4%), meat, poultry, and fish (down 1.6%), and grocery food (down 0.2%).

Tomatoes provided the most significant price fall in November (down 45% from an average price of $8.29 a kilo in October, to $4.52 in November). Prices were also lower for chicken pieces (down 11%, influenced by more discounting than in October), broccoli (down 35%), strawberries (down 30%), and lettuce (down 21%).

Prices were higher for: apples, chocolate blocks (there was less discounting than in October), nectarines, and potatoes.

In the year to November 2012, food prices decreased 0.6%. Grocery food made the main downward contribution (down 3.6%). Meat, poultry, and fish prices also decreased (down 1.7%), as did non-alcoholic beverages (down 0.8%). However, fruit and vegetable prices increased (up 7.9%), as did restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food (up 0.7%).

Fresh milk (down 9.6%), butter (down 26%) and cheddar cheese (down 12%) all had lower prices than a year earlier. Prices also decreased for chicken pieces (down 6.2%), takeaway pizzas (down 13%), and lamb (down 15%).

The strongest individual upward contributions for the year were from kumara (up 98%), avocados (up 92%), pumpkin (up 108%), and apples (up 20%). Kumara prices were influenced by poor weather conditions in both the planting and harvesting seasons, which affected this year's crop.

The FPI measures the rate of price change of food and food services purchased by households. Statistics NZ visits shops across New Zealand to collect prices for the FPI and check package sizes.

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