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Food Prices Down 0.3 percent in March

Food prices fell 0.3 percent in March 2014, but were up 1.2 percent on a year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said today. The monthly fall follows a 1.0 percent fall in February, and a 1.2 percent rise in January.

“In March, lower prices for a range of groceries, including snacks, biscuits, and cheese, were partly countered by higher prices for beef and vegetables,” prices manager Chris Pike said.

The 1.6 percent fall for grocery food was influenced by price falls across most of the subgroup including confectionery, nuts, and snacks (down 3.5 percent); bread and cereals (down 1.8 percent); and milk, cheese, and eggs (down 0.6 percent).

Meat, poultry, and fish prices rose 0.9 percent, influenced by a 2.9 percent rise in beef prices. Beef prices are now 2.3 percent below their February 2012 peak.

Fruit and vegetable prices rose 0.5 percent in March. Higher prices for avocados, tomatoes, and strawberries were partly countered by seasonally lower prices for apples and kumara.

Annual change in prices

In the year to March 2014, the food price index (FPI) increased 1.2 percent, with higher prices recorded for all five subgroups.

The restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food subgroup (up 1.9 percent) had the largest impact, with ready-to-eat food up 2.1 percent and restaurant meals up 1.6 percent. Non-alcoholic beverage prices increased 2.7 percent, influenced by soft drinks and packaged coffee.

The meat, poultry, and fish subgroup was up 1.6 percent for the year, influenced by more expensive lamb (up 15 percent) and chicken (up 3.5 percent). Lamb prices are now 17 percent below their August 2011
peak.

Fruit and vegetable prices were up 1.5 percent, with more expensive tomatoes, oranges, and mandarins, partly offset by cheaper lettuce and kumara.

Grocery food prices (up 0.2 percent) increased slightly for the year. There were increases for milk, cheese, and eggs (up 6.7 percent) and oils and fats (up 6.1 percent). Prices decreased for bread and cereals (down 3.8 percent), which are now 5.0 percent below their February 2012 peak, and confectionery, nuts, and snacks (down 3.8 percent).

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.

 

Statistics New Zealand.