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Food Price Index: June 2015
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  13 July 2015
Commentary

Monthly food prices rise 0.5 percent

Food prices rose 0.5 percent in June 2015, following a 0.4 percent rise in May and a 0.3 percent fall in April.

Fruit and vegetable prices were up 8.1 percent in June. This follows a 0.3 percent rise last month.

Vegetable prices rose 12 percent, influenced by seasonally higher prices for tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumber. Vegetable prices usually rise in winter months, and are 0.4 percent lower than in June last year. The average price for tomatoes of $8.46 per kilo in June 2015 compares with $9.25 in June 2014 and $8.97 in June 2013.

Fruit prices rose 2.9 percent, influenced by seasonally higher nectarine prices (up 30 percent). 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.

Prices for non-alcoholic beverages rose 0.6 percent, influenced by higher prices for energy drinks. Restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices rose 0.2 percent.

Meat, poultry, and fish prices fell 2.8 percent, reflecting lower prices for chicken (down 7.1 percent) and processed meat (down 3.1 percent). Chicken prices are now at the lowest level since May 2014.

Grocery food prices fell 0.2 percent, influenced by lower prices for fresh milk (down 2.6 percent). This was partly offset by higher prices for butter (up 13 percent) and bread (up 1.8 percent).

Seasonally adjusted series introduced to the food price index

This month, we have introduced seasonal adjustment into the food price index. Seasonal adjustment aims to eliminate the impact of regular seasonal events (such as annual cycles in fruit and vegetable production) on time series. Seasonal patterns can obscure the underlying behaviour of the series.

Seasonally adjusted food prices fell 0.8 percent in June, following falls of 0.1 percent in May, and 0.5 percent in April.

After seasonal adjustment, fruit and vegetable prices fell by 2.4 percent in June. This was influenced by a 3.9 percent fall for seasonally adjusted vegetable prices, offset by a 1.3 percent rise for seasonally adjusted fruit prices.

For more detail on the seasonally adjusted series, see the Excel tables in the 'Downloads' box. You can also extract the seasonally adjusted series from Infoshare.

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

Graph, Index points contribution to food price index, items that rose or fell in price, June 2014 to June 2015.

Annual food prices decrease 0.1 percent

In the year to June 2015, food prices decreased 0.1 percent. This follows a period of eight consecutive increases since October 2014.

Grocery food prices decreased 2.1 percent, influenced by lower prices for fresh milk (down 6.7 percent) and bread (down 8.7 percent). Prices also fell for:

  • cheese
  • butter
  • cakes and biscuits.

These lower prices were partly offset by higher prices for chocolate (up 8.3 percent).

Meat, poultry, and fish prices decreased 1.9 percent, influenced by lower prices for chicken (down 7.9 percent), processed meat (down 3.6 percent), and lamb (down 6.2 percent).

Restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices increased 1.9 percent and non-alcoholic beverages increased 4.1 percent in the year to June 2015.

Fruit and vegetable prices increased 1.8 percent in the year to June. Fruit prices increased 5.3 percent, influenced by higher prices for bananas. Prices for vegetables decreased 0.4 percent, influenced by lower prices for tomatoes.

Longer-term retail picture: Lowest fresh milk prices since August 2013

Milk, cheese, and egg prices decreased 4.4 percent in the year to June 2015.

  • Fresh milk prices decreased 6.7 percent in the year, and are now at their lowest level since August 2013.
  • Cheese prices decreased 4.2 percent in the year, their recent peak, in June 2014.

Meat and poultry prices decreased 2.7 percent in the year to June 2015.

  • Chicken prices decreased 7.9 percent in the year, and are now at their lowest level since May 2014.
  • Lamb prices decreased 6.2 percent in the year, and are now at their lowest level since April 2014.

Bread and cereal prices decreased 4.6 percent in the year to June 2015, influenced by an 8.7 percent fall in bread prices. Supermarkets began discounting of some cheapest-available white bread in late July 2014.

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

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