New Zealand food prices rose in August, led by an increase in fruit and vegetables and non-alcoholic beverages.

The food price index rose 0.1 per cent in August, for the fourth straight monthly gain, according to Statistics New Zealand. Prices are down 0.5 per cent from the same month last year.

Fruit and vegetables rose 1.5 per cent, leading last month's increase, with tomatoes soaring 31 per cent. Non-alcoholic beverages climbed 1.3 per cent, reflecting higher prices for fruit juices and soft drinks.

Restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices fell 0.1 per cent. Grocery food prices shed 0.7 per cent, the fifth fall in six months. Meat, poultry and fish prices showed no changed.


August's annual decline reflects "cheaper vegetables, dairy products and lamb," prices manager, Chris Pike said. Annual food prices have fallen for four months in a row, which hasn't happened since 2010.

On an annual basis grocery prices have fallen 2.1 per cent, while meat, poultry and fish are down 0.7 per cent, led by a 19 per cent decline in lamb prices from their peak in August 2011. Restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food are up 1.3 per cent.