Sophie Ryan is a Business Herald digital journalist.

Groceries, meat more expensive in January

Beef, fruit and vegetable prices are up while fresh milk prices are at their lowest since 2013 in latest Food Price Index. Photo / Northern Advocate
Beef, fruit and vegetable prices are up while fresh milk prices are at their lowest since 2013 in latest Food Price Index. Photo / Northern Advocate

A trip to the supermarket hit the wallet hard in January after food prices rose 2 per cent.

Statistics New Zealand said the rise in the price of food was the biggest monthly increase since June 2013 after five months of decreases in 2015.

The seasonally adjusted increase in price was 0.4 per cent, as fruit and vegetables were more expensive in the summer months.

The fresh produce aisle was where the price jump was most noticeable, with fruit and vegetables costing 4.4 per cent more in January. But, when seasonally adjusted, fruit and vegetable prices were down 0.7 per cent.

Fresh milk rose 4.9 per cent, chocolate increased 5 per cent and the price of plain biscuits went up 14 per cent.

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Grocery food prices increased 1.6 per cent, while meat, poultru and fish prices rose 3.3 per cent.

"The average price of two litres of fresh milk increased to $3.29, from its previous low of $3.13 in November and December 2015," consumer prices manager Matt Haigh said.

Most meat products increased in price in January, including a 2.9 per cent rise for beef, and 10 per cent price increase for chicken. The average price of 1 kilogram of chicken breasts increased from $14.62 in December 2015 to $15.45 this month.

While the jump in food prices in January was significant, the prices are still 0.6 per cent lower than a year ago. The fall was led by lower grocery food prices (down 2.1 per cent), due to lower prices for fresh milk (down 9.0 per cent), cakes and biscuits (down 6.2 per cent), and yoghurt (down 11 per cent). The fall was partly offset by price rises for chocolate and cheese.

Fruit and vegetable prices decreased 1.2 per cent over the year. A decrease of 4.7 per cent for vegetables was partly offset by a rise of 3.0 per cent for fruit.

- NZ Herald

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