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Largest annual food price rise in five years
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  13 March 2017

Food Price Index: February 2017  –  Media Release

Food prices increased 2.2 percent in the year to February 2017, led by higher prices for fruit and vegetables, and dairy products, Stats NZ said today.

“This was the largest annual increase since December 2011,” consumer prices manager Matthew Haigh said.

Higher prices were seen in all sub-groups except meat, poultry, and fish (down 2.0 percent). Fruit and vegetables were up 7.7 percent and grocery food was up 2.3 percent.   

Vegetable prices were up 12 percent, led by higher prices for carrots, kūmara, and tomatoes. Carrot prices are at an all-time high, up 51 percent since February 2016. One kilo of carrots cost $3.53 in February 2017, compared with $2.34 a year ago. Apple prices also contributed to the large movement, up 32 percent from February last year. However, apple prices in February were down 13 percent from January.

Prices for dairy products also increased. Butter prices were up 33 percent compared with February 2016, and 13 percent from January 2017.

“500g of the cheapest available butter cost on average $4.58 this month, compared with $4.06 last month and $3.45 a year ago,” Mr Haigh said.

Food prices rose 0.2 percent in the month, compared with a 2.8 percent increase in January. With seasonal adjustment, the cost of food rose 0.8 percent in February 2017.

Higher prices for fruit and vegetables (up 1.8 percent) were offset by lower prices for meat, poultry, and fish (down 1.5 percent). Seasonal influences on fruit and vegetable prices were apparent as we move out of summer. Increases were seen for summer produce, led by strawberries and lettuce, and decreases were seen for end-of-summer produce, led by apples and potatoes.

Ends

For media enquiries contact: Matthew Haigh, Wellington 04 931 4862, info@stats.govt.nz 
Authorised by Liz MacPherson, Government Statistician, 13 March 2017

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