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Food Prices Record Largest Annual Fall Since 1957

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Fuseworks Media
Food Prices Record Largest Annual Fall Since 1957

Food prices fell 2.0 percent for the year to June 2010 despite rising 1.3 percent in the June month, Statistics New Zealand said today. This is the largest annual fall in food prices since 1957.

"Food prices rose nearly 17 percent in the two years to July 2009, but recently have fallen after peaking in July last year," Statistics New Zealand's prices manager Chris Pike said.

Three subgroups contributed to the 2.0 percent annual fall in food prices, particularly fruit and vegetables (down 9.2 percent). The meat, poultry, and fish (down 3.9 percent) and grocery food (down 1.4 percent) subgroups also fell. This is the first annual fall in the grocery food subgroup since August 2004, and the largest annual fall since the series began in June 1999.

Vegetable prices (up 15.9 percent from May) tend to rise in June each year as winter weather affects growing conditions, especially for green vegetables. However, prices this year are well below the record levels seen in June last year.

In the June 2010 month, the fruit and vegetables subgroup rose 9.3 percent, largely driven by prices for tomatoes (up 44.8 percent) and lettuce (up 77.3 percent). Both lettuce and tomato prices usually rise in June, following lower prices in April and May.

Prices rose 2.7 percent for the meat, poultry, and fish subgroup, with porterhouse/sirloin beef steak prices (up 14.3 percent) rebounding from discounted levels in May. The restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food subgroup rose 0.3 percent.

The non-alcoholic beverages subgroup (down 0.8 percent) and grocery food subgroup (down 0.8 percent) made downward contributions in June.

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