Food prices fell 1 per cent last month, but were up 0.8 per cent on a year earlier, said Statistics New Zealand today.
"The fall in food prices was largely influenced by lower prices for seasonal fruit and vegetables such as tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumber, said Statistics NZ prices manager Chris Pike.
Its latest monthly food price index shows Fruit and vegetable prices fell 8.8 per cent, pushed down by a 38 per cent plunge in tomato prices. They fell from an average price of $11.39 per kilo in September 2013 to $7.11 in October.
Grocery food prices fell 0.3 per cent, influenced by more discounting for sauces - down 6.1 per cent, and cakes and biscuits, down 3.4 per cent.
Meat, poultry, and fish prices were up 2 per cent, influenced by a 4.9 per cent increase in the price of chicken, lamb which was up 15 per cent, and a 1.4 per cent jump in the price of beef.
Statistics NZ said Lamb prices are now at their highest level since December 2011.
In the year to October 2013, the food price index (FPI) increased 0.8 per cent.
Prices increased for grocery food (up 1.2 per cent), restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food (up 1.9 per cent), meat, poultry, and fish (up 2.3 per cent), and non-alcoholic beverages (up 1.2 per cent).
For grocery food, annual prices for dairy products such as fresh milk (up 7 per cent) and yoghurt (up 8.1 per cent) increased. Fresh milk prices are now at their highest level since April 2012.
Most meats increased in price over the year, including pork (up 6.7 per cent), lamb (up 4.5 per cent), beef (up 1.2 per cent), and chicken (up 1.3 per cent).
In contrast to the other food subgroups, fruit and vegetable prices fell 3.7 per cent in the year to October 2013. The decrease was influenced by lower prices for tomatoes (down 14 per cent), pumpkin (down 51 per cent), and lettuce (down 22 per cent).