Many New Zealanders may be able to include more fruit and vegetables on their festive menus thanks to a significant drop in the cost of produce.
The latest Food Price Index (FPI) data released today shows fruit and vegetable prices fell 3.4 percent between October and November, driven by seasonal price falls in tomatoes, capsicums, and strawberries. This was the largest drop recorded by any of the five food categories measured.
Tomatoes recorded the biggest price drop in November compared to the month prior, followed by lettuce, cabbage and broccoli.
Although food prices increased compared to this time last year, they have been steadily falling since September. That continuing downwards trend is great news in the lead up to the big day given the effect fresh produce can have on your mental and physical wellbeing.
Carmel Ireland, Project Manager, United Fresh (the organisation that represents the interests of the fresh fruit and produce sector), says Christmas can be a stressful time of year, but eating a healthy diet has a direct impact on your mood and energy levels.
“Kiwi have done it tough this year with the cost of living crisis. Christmas is all about treating yourself and there’s no bigger gift than good health. We would encourage people to load up their plates with creative salads and top their pavlovas with piles of fresh fruit.
“Strawberries, blueberries, avocados and tomatoes are plentiful at this time of year, so prices are affordable. All of these colourful fruit are full of antioxidants and nutrients that deliver an enormous range of health benefits,” Ireland says.
Fresh cherries, raspberries, asparagus, beans and peas are all now hitting supermarket shelves. Summer stonefruit is also on its way, albeit a little later than normal due to Cyclone Gabrielle’s impact on the Hawke’s Bay. “Growing conditions are good and there are bargains to be had when you shop in season.”