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Beneath the surface: retail fish prices 2006–11
This article looks at the prices of fresh fish sold by supermarkets and fish shops, from 2006 to 2011. We have analysed information collected from about 95 retail outlets in the 15 urban areas surveyed for the consumers price index (CPI).

Salmon, tarakihi, and gurnard are the most commonly available species that are tracked in the CPI. However, some species are not widely available in all regions. Snapper, for example, is widely available in all urban areas from Nelson northwards, but barely features further south (ie Christchurch, Timaru, Dunedin, and Invercargill). In these four urban areas, sole is widely available. Sole (a flatfish species found around New Zealand but more common in the south) hardly registers in the North Island. Blue cod is not commonly available in the upper half of the North Island.

While most major species are widely available throughout the year, there are exceptions. For example, hoki is widely available in September quarters, but less so at other times of the year.

Table 1 shows average fish prices from 2006–11 for 12 commonly available species. In 2011, prices for hoki ($14.09/kg), red cod ($16.26/kg), and trevally ($16.88/kg) would have made these fish an attractive choice for budget-conscious shoppers. At the other end of the scale, snapper ($37.40/kg in 2011) and blue cod ($36.33/kg) were the most expensive fish.

Table 1
Average prices of fresh fish
By species, 2006 to 2011
Species 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Tarakihi 20.78 22.77 25.43 26.67 26.83 27.18
Gurnard 20.15 21.93 24.32 26.42 26.00 26.54
Snapper 30.43 33.67 35.16 37.40 37.87 37.40
Sole (flats) 20.73 21.59 23.25 22.92 22.92 23.68
Salmon (fillets) 25.77 26.88 27.80 28.45 29.21 30.23
Red cod 13.48 13.80 15.08 15.85 16.10 16.26
Salmon (steaks) 24.56 23.99 25.72 24.96 26.80 25.77
Lemon fish (rig) 18.25 19.91 20.23 22.30 21.88 22.35
Monk fish (stargazer) 18.66 19.32 20.69 21.81 22.41 21.92
Blue cod 25.24 29.22 33.01 34.36 34.57 36.33
Trevally 14.82 16.12 16.48 17.12 19.67 16.88
Hoki 11.75 11.56 13.29 13.72 13.31 14.09

Prices for the three most commonly available species, salmon (fillets), tarakihi, and gurnard, were $30.23, $27.18, and $26.54 per kilogram, respectively. By comparison, beef porterhouse/sirloin steak prices were lower, averaging $25.17 per kilogram in 2011.

Overall, fresh fish prices increased 1.5 percent in 2011, after increasing 6.8 percent in total over the previous two years. By comparison, beef and veal prices rose 7.5 percent in 2011, chicken prices rose 2.7 percent, and lamb prices rose 15.8 percent. From 2010 to 2011, prices rose for the three most commonly available fish species: farmed salmon fillets rose 3.5 percent, tarakihi prices rose 1.3 percent, and gurnard prices rose 2.1 percent.

From 2006 to 2011, fresh fish prices increased 25.1 percent – an average of 4.6 percent per year. By comparison, prices for beef and veal rose 26.7 percent, chicken rose 39.7 percent, and lamb rose 48.0 percent over the same period.

A table of fresh fish prices, broken down by region, can be downloaded in Excel format from the ‘Downloads’ box above.

Prices collected for the CPI and food price index are weighted based on the relative importance of the types of outlets they are collected from. New relative weights have been used to update prices collected from supermarkets and from fish shops since the September 2011 quarter. This update was made as a part of the Food price index review: 2011.


Back to Price Index News: April 2012 

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