Food price index rises after five months' decline

By Sophie Boot

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Young Woman Buying Vegetables at Grocery Market WGP 13Jan16 - GOOD EATING: Pick the right veges.
Young Woman Buying Vegetables at Grocery Market WGP 13Jan16 - GOOD EATING: Pick the right veges.

New Zealand food prices rose in January, snapping five months of falling prices with fruit, vegetables, meat and milk all more expensive.

The food price index increased 2 per cent in January, having previously fallen 0.8 per cent in December, according to Statistics New Zealand. Prices declined 0.6 per cent on an annual basis.

Fruit prices advanced 5.5per cent in January, influenced by higher prices for strawberries and apples. The cost of apples rose 14.5per cent to an average of $3.95 per kilogram in the month.

Vegetable prices gained 3.4 per cent in the month, with broccoli, tomatoes and lettuce prices all increasing about 20 per cent.

Meat, poultry and fish prices rose 3.3 per cent, following a 2.7 per cent fall in December.

Chicken prices, which had reached a seven-year low in December, increased 10 per cent, with chicken breasts now costing an average of $15.45 per kilogram. Chicken prices fell 5.4 per cent on an annual basis, and have been declining annually since June 2015.

Food prices account for about 17 per cent of the consumers price index, which has tracked below the Reserve Bank's target band of between 1-and-3 per cent for more than a year.

Today's data show grocery food prices advanced 1.6 per cent in January, and were down 2.1 per cent on an annual basis. The price of fresh milk rose last month, up 4.9 per cent. The average price of the cheapest available two litre bottle of blue-top milk was $3.29, from $3.13 in December.

Dairy prices are still lower on an annual basis across most products, with fresh milk prices down 9 per cent and yoghurt 11 per cent cheaper, in a year where global dairy prices collapsed. However, cheese and chocolate were more expensive, with cheese prices up 4.7 per cent for the year.

Non-alcoholic beverages prices rose 2.2 per cent in January and were up 0.2 per cent on an annual basis, while prices for restaurant meals and read-to-eat food increased 0.2 per cent in the month for a 2 per cent rise in 2015.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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