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Food prices fall for the year, but edge up in August

Food prices fall for the year, but edge up in August

Embargoed until 10:45am – 14 September 2012

Food prices decreased 0.5 percent in the year to August 2012, despite a small rise for the August month (up 0.1 percent), Statistics New Zealand said today. "Food prices are slightly lower than a year ago, reflecting cheaper vegetables, dairy products and lamb," prices manager Chris Pike said.

"Annual food prices have now fallen for four months in a row. This hasn't happened since 2010, when a run of four annual falls also ended in August," Mr Pike said.

Two of the five subgroups contributed to the annual decrease in the food price index (FPI). Lower prices were recorded for grocery food (down 2.1 percent) and meat, poultry, and fish (down 0.7 percent). More expensive restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food (up 1.3 percent) partly offset the decreases. The individual food items that decreased most for the year to August were: lettuce (down 39 percent), fresh milk (down 9.2 percent), and broccoli (down 50 percent). Lamb prices decreased 19 percent from their peak in August 2011.

The food items that increased most for the year were: tomatoes (up 26 percent), fresh chicken pieces (up 9.2 percent), and kumara (up 90 percent). Kumara prices reached their highest level since February 2008, influenced by low prices in August 2011 and poor weather conditions in both the planting and harvesting seasons, which affected this year's crop.

In the August 2012 month, fruit and vegetable prices rose 1.5 percent, reflecting higher tomato prices (up 31 percent). Non-alcoholic beverage prices rose 1.3 percent, reflecting higher prices for fruit juice and soft drinks. These prices were influenced by less discounting than in July 2012. Grocery food prices fell 0.7 percent – the fifth fall in six months.

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 Aug12.pdf

fpi aug 12t ables.xls


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