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Households benefiting from food price falls

Kiwi shoppers are enjoying lower grocery prices as the country experiences a sustained fall in the price of food.

Three different sets of statistics confirm the downward trend which started five years ago.
According to the latest Statistics New Zealand figures, food prices fell 1.3 per cent in the year to July 2016.

The drop was driven by a 10% fall in dairy prices for cheese, yoghurt and butter and a 3.2 per cent fall in the price of fresh milk.

"Food prices in New Zealand are heavily influenced by international factors. Since 2011 we've seen low international commodity prices for dairy and also other products such as flour and sugar and this flows on to what New Zealand consumers are paying," says Consumer Prices Manager Matt Haigh from Statistics New Zealand.

Prices in supermarket chain Countdown's 'Basket of 100' were 1.9 percent lower in July compared to the same time last year.

The trend is also backed up by a study by Otago University's Department of Human Nutrition.

The study found the average weekly cost for a basic diet for an adult in New Zealand fell from just under $64 in 2014 to just under $60 in 2016.

That's a 6.2 per cent drop in food prices in the past three years.

"We've also seen New Zealand exchange rate being quite high and that has a direct impact on price of imported food products," says Matt Haigh.

But while the food deflation is a godsend for cash-strapped consumers, there are a few exceptions.

Beef prices are up 4.6 per cent compared to a year ago, honey's up 37% and cucumbers are currently at a 20 year high.

- NZ Herald

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