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Food prices fall 1.0 percent in February

Food prices fall 1.0 percent in February

13 March 2014

Food prices fell 1.0 percent in February 2014, but were up 0.2 percent on a year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said today.

"Boxed chocolates were cheaper in the lead-up to Valentine's Day," prices manager Chris Pike said. "February also saw seasonally cheaper fruit and vegetables and cheaper beef and lamb."

The seasonal fall in fruit and vegetable prices (down 5.9 percent) was influenced by price falls for both vegetables (down 6.5 percent) and fruit (down 5.1 percent). The main downward contributions came from apples and tomatoes.

Meat, poultry, and fish prices fell 1.9 percent, reflecting lower prices for beef (down 4.6 percent) and lamb (down 9.0 percent). Restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food (down 0.2 percent) also fell.

Non-alcoholic beverage prices rose 0.7 percent, influenced by less discounting on soft drinks (up 2.3 percent).

Grocery food prices (up 0.1 percent) rose slightly. Snack foods and sauces recorded higher prices, while chocolate prices fell. The price of boxed chocolates (down 21 percent) falls every February, when Valentine's Day occurs.

Annual change in prices

In the year to February 2014, the food price index (FPI) increased 0.2 percent.

Prices increased for grocery food (up 1.0 percent), restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food (up 1.6 percent), and non-alcoholic beverages (up 1.7 percent).

For grocery food, prices for milk, cheese, and eggs (up 5.7 percent) made the main upward contribution. Lower prices for bread and cereals (down 2.1 percent), and confectionery, nuts, and snacks (down 1.9 percent) partly countered this increase.

The price increase for non-alcoholic beverages was largely influenced by soft drink prices (up 2.6 percent).

In the year to February 2014, fruit and vegetable prices decreased 5.6 percent, influenced by lower prices for apples, lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, and cucumber.

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.

For more information about these statistics:
• Visit Food Price Index: February 2014


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