Food prices fall 2pc - biggest annual decline in 50 years

The 2pc fall in food prices is the biggest annual decline since 1957, says Statistics NZ. Photo / Martin Sykes
The 2pc fall in food prices is the biggest annual decline since 1957, says Statistics NZ. Photo / Martin Sykes

Food prices took a record tumble in the year to June, driven by a decrease in the cost of fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry and fish.

Statistics New Zealand said the 2 per cent fall was the largest annual decrease in food prices since 1957 and followed a 17 per cent rise in the cost of food for the two years to July 2009.

Fruit and vegetables were down 9.2 per cent, meat, poultry and fish was down 3.9 per cent, and grocery food was down 1.4 per cent.

It is the first time the grocery food subgroup has fallen since August 2004, SNZ said.

The most significant falls for individual items were recorded for lettuce (down 29.7 per cent), fresh chicken (down 13.5 per cent), and potato crisps (down 10.8 per cent).

At the same time the cost of buying a soft drink rose 4.7 per cent while fresh milk was up 4.4 per cent, during the year.

Food prices edged up again in the June calendar month by 1.3 per cent, following decreases of 0.7 per cent and 0.5 per cent in May and April respectively.

The rise was led by an increase in the cost of vegetables which rose 15.9 per cent from May - as winter weather affected growing conditions.

The cost of fruit and vegetables overall increased 9.3 per cent, driven by a 44.8 per cent increase in the cost of tomatoes and lettuce (up 77.3 per cent).

Lettuce and tomato prices usually rise in June, following lower prices in April and May, SNZ said.

Prices rose 2.7 percent for the meat, poultry, and fish subgroup, with porterhouse/sirloin beef steak prices (up 14.3 percent) rebounding from discounted levels in May.

The restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food subgroup rose 0.3 percent, SNZ said.

The non-alcoholic beverages subgroup and grocery food subgroup were both down 0.8 percent during June.

- NZ HERALD STAFF

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