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Food Price Index: May 2014
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  13 June 2014
Commentary

Monthly food prices rise 0.6 percent, influenced by vegetable prices

Food prices rose 0.6 percent in May 2014, following a 0.6 percent rise in April and a 0.3 percent fall in March.

Vegetable prices were up 16 percent, influenced by higher prices for lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber. While vegetable prices usually rise in May months, this is a stronger-than-usual increase.

Most dairy products also rose in price for the month, with cheese up 3.1 percent, fresh milk up 1.3 percent, and butter up 6.9 percent. Fresh milk prices are now at their highest-ever level – 1.0 percent higher than their previous peak in February 2011.

The graph below is interactive. Hover over data points to see exact values. Click legend text to hide or show variables.

 

 

Meat, poultry, and fish (down 1.5 percent) had the largest downward contribution, with lower prices recorded for most meats, including chicken, beef, and pork.

Fruit prices fell 3.9 percent, influenced by increased discounting for bananas (down 14 percent), which are now at their lowest level since August 2011. There were also seasonal price falls for kiwifruit and mandarins.

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, May 2013 to May 2014.

Annual food prices increase across all five subgroups

In the year to May 2014, food prices increased 1.8 percent following an increase of 1.5 percent in the year to April 2014. This is the third consecutive month all five subgroups have shown an annual increase.

Milk, cheese, and eggs (up 8.0 percent) made the strongest upward contribution. Fresh milk increased 11 percent in the year, and cheese prices increased 8.1 percent.

Fruit and vegetable prices also increased for the year, with vegetables up 8.7 percent and fruit up 1.6 percent. Prices for tomatoes, lettuce, apples, broccoli, and oranges all increased for the year, partly offset by cheaper bananas and capsicums. Prices for oranges (up 19 percent) were influenced by reduced imports from the United States, where the crop has been affected by disease.

These increases were partly offset by lower prices for confectionery, nuts, and snacks (down 4.0 percent), influenced by a decrease in chocolate prices. Prices for confectionery, nuts, and snacks have largely shown annual decreases for the past year.

Other increases came from ready-to-eat food (up 2.2 percent), soft drinks, waters, and juices (up 2.7 percent), and restaurant meals (up 1.8 percent).

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 8.0 percent in the year to May 2014, and are 0.1 percent below their peak in July 2011. Fresh milk prices are now 1.0 percent above their previous peak in February 2011. Despite rising 3.1 percent in the month of May, cheese prices are still 6.9 percent below their peak in July 2011.

Meat and poultry prices are now 2.4 percent below their peak in October 2013. Beef prices are now 1.8 percent below their peak last month. Lamb prices are 17 percent below their peak in August 2011.

Bread and cereal prices are now 3.7 percent below their peak in February 2012.

The graph below is interactive. Hover over data points to see exact values. Click legend text to hide or show variables.

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

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