Cheaper vegetables that are now in-season helped push the price of food down last month, according to government data.
The Food Price Index fell 1 per cent in September, led by an 8.6 per cent decline in fresh produce, according to Statistics New Zealand. The monthly fall follows a 1.4 per cent drop in August, though the price of food is still 4.7 per cent higher than in September last year.
"The September fall in fruit and vegetable prices is the largest since a fall of 10.2 per cent in February 2006," the department said in its report. "While vegetable prices often fall at this time of year, prices are now 19.6 percent from their highest-ever recorded level in July 2011."
The price of grocery food items fell 0.2 percent in September, led by a 2.7 per cent decline in pasta products and a 1.1 per cent fall in bread prices, though milk, cheese and egg prices crept up 0.2 per cent.
Meat, poultry and fish prices rose 0.3 percent in the month, while non-alcoholic drinks gained 1.3 per cent and restaurant meals increased 0.2 per cent.
The slow-down in rising food prices should help to rein in inflation, which accelerated to 1 per cent in the three months ended June 30, taking the annual pace to 5.3 per cent.