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Food prices fall 0.7 percent in July

Food prices fall 0.7 percent in July

Media release

27 August 2014

Food prices fell 0.7 percent in the month of July 2014, Statistics New Zealand said today. This fall follows a 1.4 percent rise in June and a 0.6 percent rise in May.

"There were lower prices for meat in July as well as cheaper grocery food, fruit, and vegetables," prices manager Chris Pike said.

The fall in meat, poultry, and fish prices (down 2.2 percent) reflects lower prices for beef (down 4.4 percent), which fell from its highest recorded level in June 2014. Processed meat (down 2.8 percent) also fell, influenced by ham.

Grocery food prices fell 0.7 percent, influenced by lower prices for food additives and condiments (down 4.3 percent), mainly due to sauces. Lower prices were also recorded for breakfast cereals (down 6.3 percent) and some dairy products (influenced by yoghurt). Higher prices were recorded for bread (up 2.6 percent).

Fruit and vegetable prices fell 0.9 percent. Lower prices for tomatoes and avocados were partly offset by higher prices for bananas and capsicum. The price of bananas rose 16 percent after four consecutive monthly price falls.

Annual change in prices

In the year to July 2014, food prices decreased 0.1 percent. This follows an annual price increase of 1.2 percent in the year to June 2014.

The only subgroup that decreased in the year to July 2014 was fruit and vegetables (down 5.9 percent), with vegetables down 7.5 percent and fruit down 3.4 percent. Lower prices were recorded for lettuce, avocados, kumara, and tomatoes.

All other subgroups recorded increases. Restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food (up 2.2 percent), non-alcoholic beverages (up 1.5 percent), meat, poultry, and fish (up 0.5 percent), and grocery food (up 0.2 percent) all increased.

The food price index (FPI) measures the rate of price change of food and food services purchased by households. Statistics NZ has completed a review of the FPI as part of a wider, three-yearly consumers price index review. The review involved updating the basket of representative food items being tracked for the FPI, and reviewing the relative importance of food items in the basket.

The new relative importance of the FPI subgroups shows that about $37 of every $100 that households spend on food, is spent on grocery food. About $23 is spent on restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food, and about $16 is spent on meat, poultry, and fish. Fruit and vegetables account for $14, and the remaining $10 is spent on non-alcoholic beverages, such as packaged coffee, soft drinks, and juices.

Three items have been added to the FPI basket – prawns, packaged leaf salad, and breakfast food drinks. There were also changes to product specifications for chicken pieces and energy drinks, taking the number of items to 166.


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