Food prices rise at fastest annual rate in 13 years

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The annual increase in grocery prices was driven by rising costs for eggs, yogurt and cheddar cheese.
Photo: 123RF

Food prices rose at their fastest annual rate in 13 years.

Data from Stats NZ showed the food price index rose 1.1% in August from the previous month, 8.3% more than a year ago – the biggest annual increase since July 2009.

The monthly increase was driven by a 4.1% rise in fresh fruits and vegetables, as adverse weather affected production in some key growing areas.

“Vegetables had the biggest impact on this monthly rise, influenced by higher prices for tomatoes, peppers and cabbage,” said Katrina Dewbery, head of consumer prices at Stats NZ.

Grocery prices were the second largest contributor to the monthly increase, up 1.0%, led by a 6.7% rise in prices for eggs, yogurt, up 4.7%, and chocolate cookies, up 7.1%.

On an annual basis, an 8.7% rise in grocery food prices was the main driver of the increase, particularly eggs and some dairy products.

Fruit and vegetable prices increased by 15 percent, but have a lower weight in the overall food price index (IPA).

All the other subgroups making up the REIT progressed over the year:

  • prices for restaurant meals and ready-to-eat foods by 6.5%;
  • meat, poultry and fish prices by 7.6%;
  • non-alcoholic beverage prices by 4.1%.

Food prices account for about 19% of the overall consumer price index, which rose 7.3% in the year to June.

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