Canterbury has seen a 42% increase in livestock per hectare in the past 15 years as the region farms more dairy cows over sheep.
Seasonally lower fruit and vegetable prices saw overall food prices fall 0.8% in the month. Adjusting for the typical seasonal patterns, prices were flat.
Vegetable prices showed the biggest movement in October, down 8% in total. Fruit prices were down 1.8%. As well as lower prices for lettuce and tomatoes, courgettes were down 43%. This was partly offset by higher carrot prices, up 19%.
"Tomatoes continued their price decline for the second consecutive month, to $6.83 per kilo this month. While this is a large fall, tomatoes are still more expensive than they were in October 2015," consumer prices manager Matt Haigh says.
Meat, poultry, and fish prices rose 0.8% in October 2016. This was influenced by higher prices for poultry (up 4.4%). Pork prices have fallen 5.3% in the month to their lowest level since August 2014.
"Lower pork prices reflect cheaper prices for roasting pork, and brought prices in line with those seen six years ago," Haigh says.
Prices for grocery foods were flat in October 2016, with lower prices for cheese (down 3.6%) and yoghurt (down 4.6%) partly offset by higher prices for fresh milk (up 1.4%). Non-alcoholic beverages prices fell by 1.2% in October, influenced by lower prices for coffee, soft drinks, waters, and juices.
Overall, food prices increased 0.6% in the year to October 2016, influenced by higher prices for restaurant meals and ready-to-eat meals (up 2%) and fruit and vegetables (up 1.2%).