New Zealand food prices rose in May, led by a jump in fruit and vegetables following a decline in produce costs last month.

The food price index rose 0.5 per cent in the month, according to Statistics New Zealand, an increase from the 0.1 per cent rise in cost seen in April.

In the month, three of the five subgroups saw prices increase, lead by fruit and vegetables cost which rose 1.6 per cent, up from a 3.3 per cent decline in April. Meat, poultry, and fish prices rose 1.2 per cent, and non-alcoholic beverage costs climbed 0.9 per cent.

Prices of restaurant meals and ready-to-eat-foods were unchanged, while grocery costs fell 0.2 per cent.

For the year ending in May, food prices increased 7.4 per cent, the largest increase since July 2009, outstripping the consumer price inflation of 4.5 per cent for the year ending March 31.

That reflects the 2.5 per cent increase in the goods and services tax to 15 per cent in October last year.

Looking at the subgroups on a 12 month basis ending in May, fruit and vegetable prices rose 12.8 per cent, meat, poultry and fish rose 9.9 per cent, and non-alcoholic beverages rose 7 per cent.

Grocery food rose 6.4 per cent, and restaurant meals and ready-to-eat foods rose 4.2 per cent.