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Food prices down slightly in December, but up for the year

Food prices down slightly in December, but up for the year – Media release

15 January 2014

Food prices fell 0.1 percent in December 2013 but were up 1.5 percent on a year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said today.

"Food prices were down slightly in December. Seasonally lower prices for vegetables and more discounting for chocolate and soft drinks were partly countered by higher meat and milk prices," prices manager Chris Pike said.

The main downward contribution came from the non-alcoholic beverages subgroup (down 2.1 percent). Lower prices were recorded for soft drinks, influenced by more discounting.

Fruit and vegetable prices also fell in December (down 1.1 percent). Vegetable prices fell 3.7 percent, while fruit prices rose 2.4 percent. Seasonally lower prices were recorded for tomatoes, nectarines, and lettuce, while seasonal price rises were recorded for apples, potatoes, and kiwifruit.

Grocery food prices remained flat. Higher prices for fresh milk (up 2.7 percent) were partly offset by lower prices for chocolate. Chocolate prices are now at their lowest level since July 2008.

Monthly price rises were recorded for meat, poultry, and fish (up 0.8 percent), influenced by higher prices for chicken (up 4.7 percent). Restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices also rose (up 0.5 percent).

Annual change in prices

In the year to December 2013, the food price index (FPI) increased 1.5 percent.

Prices increased for grocery food (up 2.0 percent); restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food (up 1.9 percent); non-alcoholic beverages (up 3.0 percent); and meat, poultry, and fish (up 1.6 percent) in the year to December 2013.

For grocery food, prices increased for dairy products such as fresh milk (up 9.4 percent), cheese (up 7.7 percent), and yoghurt (up 10 percent). This was partly offset by lower prices for confectionery, nuts, and snacks (down 4.4 percent) – influenced by more discounting.

The only food subgroup to show a price decrease in the year to December was fruit and vegetables (down 2.2 percent). This decrease was influenced by lower prices for pumpkin, grapes, and avocados.

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.

 Food Price Index: December 2013




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