Banana prices have spiked 22 per cent to a record high last month, with food prices following suit with a 1.3 per cent rise in August.

The price of bananas in the month of August peaked to $3.51 per kilo. The previous peak was $3.23 - seen in March this year.

"Banana prices were at their highest since the series began in 1949, reflecting a supply shortage from Ecuador. Over the last three years, Ecuador has overtaken the Philippines as the main supplier of bananas to New Zealand," Statistics New Zealand consumer prices manager Matt Haigh said today.

"Kiwi households spend an average of $88 a year on bananas, making them the most popular fruit," he said.


The average price for 1kg of bananas increased to $3.51 from $2.87 in July.

A ship transporting bananas to New Zealand broke down off the coast of Ecuador in late August, causing an increase in price during the shortage.

Bad weather and seasonal factors in July and August led to supply shortages in fresh produce, with an increase of 12.6 per cent versus August last year.

Overall food prices rose 1.2 per cent after seasonal adjustment, with fruit and vegetable prices posting the largest increase of 5.8 per cent.

Meat, poultry, and fish prices rose 0.2 per cent, grocery food prices rose 0.7 per cent and non-alcoholic beverage prices rose 1.8 per cent.

Restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices rose 0.3 per cent in the month of August.

In the year to August, overall food prices increased 0.5 per cent.

The food price index accounts for about 19 per cent of the consumers price index, which is the Reserve Bank's mandated inflation target when setting interest rates.

Consumer prices rose an annual 0.4 per cent in the June quarter, the seventh quarter below the Reserve Bank's 1-to-3 per cent target band.

See Statistics New Zealand's full Food Price Index here: