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Tomatoes and green vegetables lift food prices

Tomatoes and green vegetables lift food prices

Food prices rose 2.0 percent in July 2011 and were up 7.9 percent on a year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said today. Vegetable prices rose 14.2 percent and accounted for more than half of the rise in July, mainly due to tomatoes and green vegetables.

There were seasonal price rises for tomatoes (up 34.0 percent), lettuce (up 20.7 percent), broccoli (up 66.6 percent), capsicums (up 28.6 percent), and cucumber (up 20.7 percent). "Tomato prices averaged $13.25 per kg in July, reflecting a supply shortage," Statistics NZ prices manager Chris Pike said.

The meat, poultry, and fish subgroup (up 3.7 percent), also made a significant upward contribution to the food price increase, reflecting higher prices for fresh chicken (up 8.6 percent). Lamb prices rose 7.7 percent and are now at their highest-recorded level.

In July 2011, grocery food prices rose 0.5 percent, reflecting higher prices for yoghurt (up 14.7 percent). Yoghurt prices are also at their highest-recorded level.

In the year to July 2011, food prices rose 7.9 percent. This includes a 2.2 percent rise in October 2010, when goods and services tax rose. All subgroups recorded increases: grocery food (up 7.2 percent), fruit and vegetables (up 15.9 percent), meat, poultry, and fish (up 6.8 percent), non-alcoholic beverages (up 9.0 percent), and restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food (up 4.2 percent).

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 $38 of every $100 households spend on food, is spent on grocery food. About $21 is spent on eating out or takeaways, and about $16 is spent on meat, poultry, and fish. Fruit and vegetables account for $14, and the remaining $11 is spent on non-alcoholic beverages, such as packaged coffee, soft drinks, and juices.

Four items – dried apricots, frozen berries, frozen chicken nuggets, and flatbread – have been added to the FPI basket. None have been removed.


Dallas Welch (Mrs) Acting Government Statistician

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