Thursday, 14 February 2019 12:28

Food prices jump

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Food prices rose 1.0% in January. Food prices rose 1.0% in January.

Broccoli prices more than doubled and lettuce prices rose almost 80% in January.

Statistics New Zealand revealed today that average price of a 350g head of broccoli was $2.76 in January, up from a near seven-year low of $1.25 in December.

Stats NZ consumer prices manager Caroline White says the increase was the result of a bumper harvest and low broccoli prices in December. A larger than usual price rise was seen as the harvest returned to normal levels in January.

Lettuce prices rose 79% in January. The price of a 500g head of lettuce was $1.86 in January 2019, compared with $1.04 in December 2018. 

“The price of lettuce in January this year was more than 50 cents a head higher than the same month last year,” White said.

The price for a 200g avocado fell to $1.58 in January 2019, a drop of 43% from January 2018. Avocado prices were particularly high in early 2018, due to the small harvest.

The price of milk also fell to a 19-month low in January 2019, to $3.49 per two-litre bottle of standard dark blue top.

“Supermarket milk prices are highly influenced by the farmgate milk price,” White said.

“Fonterra’s forecast milk payout was cut multiple times from May last year. While dairy farmers face tougher times, consumers usually benefit from the lower prices when supermarkets pay less to the suppliers.”

Yoghurt prices rose 14%, coming off specials in late 2018. Cheese prices rose 4.6%, and butter prices rose 2.4%.

Overall, food prices rose 1.0% in January 2019, compared with December 2018.

Food prices were up 0.8% in the year to January 2019, mainly driven by higher prices for ready-to-eat food (up 3.3%), milk, cheese and eggs (up 2.9%) and restaurant meals (up 2.3%), partly offset by lower fruit prices (down 5.8%).

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