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Lower food prices influenced by seasonally cheaper vegetables

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Fuseworks Media
Lower food prices influenced by seasonally cheaper vegetables

Food prices fell 1.0 percent in October 2013 but were up 0.8 percent on a year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said today.

"The fall in food prices was largely influenced by lower prices for seasonal fruit and vegetables such as tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumber," prices manager Chris Pike said.

Fruit and vegetable prices fell 8.8 percent in October. Tomatoes (down 38 percent) led the way, falling from an average price of $11.39 per kilo in September 2013 to $7.11 in October 2013.

Grocery food prices fell 0.3 percent, influenced by more discounting for sauces (down 6.1 percent), and cakes and biscuits (down 3.4 percent).

Meat, poultry, and fish prices rose 2.0 percent, influenced by higher prices for chicken (up 4.9 percent) lamb (up 15 percent), and beef (up 1.4 percent). Lamb prices are at their highest level since December 2011.

Annual change in prices

In the year to October 2013, the food price index (FPI) increased 0.8 percent.

Prices increased for grocery food (up 1.2 percent), restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food (up 1.9 percent), meat, poultry, and fish (up 2.3 percent), and non-alcoholic beverages (up 1.2 percent).

For grocery food, annual prices for dairy products such as fresh milk (up 7.0 percent) and yoghurt (up 8.1 percent) increased. Fresh milk prices are now at their highest level since April 2012.

Most meats increased in price over the year, including pork (up 6.7 percent), lamb (up 4.5 percent), beef (up 1.2 percent), and chicken (up 1.3 percent).

In contrast to the other food subgroups, fruit and vegetable prices decreased 3.7 percent in the year to October 2013. The decrease was influenced by lower prices for tomatoes (down 14 percent), pumpkin (down 51 percent), and lettuce (down 22 percent).

The FPI measures the rate of price change of food and food services purchased by households. Statistics NZ visits shops across New Zealand to collect prices for the FPI and check package sizes.

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