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Food Price Index: June 2014
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  11 July 2014
Commentary

Monthly food prices rise 1.4 percent, influenced by vegetable prices

Food prices rose 1.4 percent in June 2014, following a 0.6 percent rise in May and a 0.6 percent rise in April. This is the largest monthly rise since a 2.1 percent rise in June 2013.

Vegetable prices were up 8.9 percent in June, influenced by seasonally higher prices for tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumber. This rise follows a 16 percent rise in vegetable prices last month. The average tomato price of $9.25 per kilo in June 2014 compares with $8.97 in June 2013 and $10.17 in June 2012.  Vegetable prices usually rise in winter months and are 0.3 percent cheaper than in June last year.

Meat, poultry, and fish prices rose 3.6 percent, reflecting higher prices for chicken (up 9.9 percent) and beef (up 5.0 percent) – both influenced by less discounting. This is the largest monthly rise in meat, poultry, and fish prices since a 3.7 percent rise in July 2011.

Grocery food prices rose 0.5 percent, influenced by higher prices for dairy products. Prices rose for butter (up 7.7 percent), yoghurt (up 3.6 percent), cheese (up 0.8 percent), and fresh milk (up 0.2 percent). Butter prices are now 6.3 percent below their peak in June 2011. 

These rises were partly offset by lower prices for bread and cereals (down 0.3 percent), influenced by lower prices for bread, and for cakes and biscuits. 

Fruit prices fell 0.5 percent, influenced by lower prices for mandarins and oranges. Mandarin prices usually fall in June months. Banana prices also fell (down 3.7 percent) following a 14 percent fall in May. Banana prices are now at their their lowest level since August 2011, influenced by more discounting. The average price of bananas is now $2.24 per kilo. 

These falls were partly offset by seasonally higher prices for nectarines. Nectarine prices usually rise when the first imported stock arrives in winter, as their prices are compared with prices for the March end-of-season locally produced stock. 

The graphs below are interactive. Hover over data points to see exact values.

The following graph shows the index points contribution to the food price index (FPI) of items that rose or fell in price for the month.

Graph, index points contribution to FPI, items that rose or fell in price, June 2013 to June 2014.

Annual food prices increase 1.2 percent, influenced by dairy products

In the year to June 2014, food prices increased 1.2 percent, following an increase of 1.8 percent in the year to May 2014. Food prices are now at their highest level since they peaked in July 2011.

Higher prices were recorded for a range of dairy products. Fresh milk prices increased 11 percent in the year to their highest-ever level. The average retail price for the cheapest available 2-litre standard milk at $3.62 in June 2014 compares with $3.19 in June 2013. Other dairy products including cheese (up 12 percent), yoghurt (up 7.2 percent), and butter (up 12 percent) also increased.

Meat, poultry, and fish prices increased 2.8 percent, influenced by higher prices across most of the subgroup –  including beef (up 6.9 percent), lamb (up 20 percent), and chicken (up 2.4 percent). Meat, poultry, and fish prices are now at their highest level, 1.5 percent above their previous peak in October 2013.

The only subgroup to show an annual price decrease was fruit and vegetables (down 2.3 percent). Fruit prices decreased 5.1 percent, influenced by lower prices for avocados and bananas. Avocado prices are now 21 percent lower than their June 2013 level, but 26 percent above their June 2012 level.

Other decreases came from confectionery, nuts, and snacks (down 2.7 percent), influenced by lower chocolate prices. Bread and cereals decreased 1.6 percent, influenced by lower prices for bread. 

The graphs below are interactive. Hover over data points to see exact values.

Longer-term retail picture for dairy, meat, and grain prices

Milk, cheese, and egg prices increased 9.3 percent in the year to June 2014 to their highest level, 0.5 percent above their previous peak in July 2011. This is the largest annual increase in milk, cheese, and eggs since a 9.5 percent increase in the year to February 2011.

Meat and poultry prices are now at their highest level, 1.6 percent above their previous peak in October 2013. Beef prices are also at their highest level, 3.1 percent above their previous peak in April 2014. Lamb prices are 14 percent below their peak in August 2011.

Bread and cereal prices are now 4.0 percent below their peak in February 2012, with bread prices at their lowest level since February 2011.

For more detailed data from the FPI, see the Excel tables in the 'Downloads' box.

Updated food price index for July 2014

The release of the July 2014 FPI will be later than usual, as we are implementing a review of the index. FPI reviews happen every three years, and help ensure the index remains relevant.

The reviewed index will incorporate:

  • an updated basket of goods and services
  • an updated expenditure weighting pattern
  • a move to regional expenditure weights (as recommended by the 2013 CPI Advisory Committee).

Food Price Index: July 2014 will be released on 27 August 2014. Subsequent FPI releases will be published at the usual times.

Please see our online release calendar for information on release dates.

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