In the six months since her family moved here from Britain, Lisa Welbourne has done a lot of shopping around.

Gobsmacked at the price of basic foods, she has visited a lot of Auckland supermarkets and greengrocers in pursuit of lower prices, in pursuit of food she can afford. She finds it cheaper to buy at smaller fruit and vegetable shops - but that means more fuel costs.

Her friends back home can't believe it when she tells them the price of food in New Zealand.

"Nice bread is four times the price," she says. "I told them a loaf of bread was £1 [$1.90] and they said, 'You're joking' ... They can't understand. When I see the average wage in New Zealand I wonder how some people are surviving."

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Lisa and her husband Max moved here with their 2-year-old son just six months ago and they were immediately scandalised by the prices.

"I always compare prices online and you can get things for half the price or a third of the price overseas that you get here."

In the UK, she bought a lot of organic food, but cannot afford to do the same here.

An added difficulty is that Kiwi prices vary markedly with the seasons, making it hard to budget. "In winter, you might get an avocado for $2 but in summer you might get two or three for $1. That doesn't happen in the UK ... consumers would be outraged if prices fluctuated there like they do here."

Her supermarket shopping costs about twice as much here as it did in the UK - something she had not been prepared for. "I'm astounded at how much food has gone up in price since we last visited New Zealand."

She said some of the difference might be due to the large supermarket chains' buying power being bigger in countries where there was a bigger population base, but that did not explain the extent of the difference.