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Food prices rise 0.1 percent in March
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  15 April 2015

Food Price Index: March 2015  –  Media Release

In March 2015, food prices rose 0.1 percent, Statistics New Zealand said today. This follows a 0.7 percent fall in February and a 1.3 percent rise in January.

“Less discounting on items such as biscuits, yoghurt, and sauces contributed to higher grocery prices. This was countered by lower prices for fruit and vegetables,” prices manager Chris Pike said.

Grocery food prices rose 1.2 percent, with higher prices across most of the subgroup. This was the highest monthly rise for grocery food prices since January 2013.

Higher prices for meat, poultry, and fish (up 0.4 percent) were influenced by higher prices for beef, partly offset by lower prices for chicken and pork.

In March, the fall in fruit and vegetable prices (down 3.1 percent) was influenced by seasonal price falls for both vegetables (down 3.5 percent) and fruit (down 2.6 percent). The main downward contributions came from apples and potatoes, partly countered by higher prices for strawberries and tomatoes. With the arrival of new season stock, apple prices have fallen 48 percent from their peak in January.

Lower prices were also recorded for non-alcoholic beverages, influenced by more discounting of packaged coffee and tea.

Annual change in prices

In the year to March 2015, food prices increased 1.9 percent, following a 1.5 percent increase in the year to February 2015. This was the largest annual increase since December 2011.

Fruit and vegetable prices increased 7.0 percent. Prices were higher for lettuce, potatoes, bananas, strawberries, carrots, and dried apricots, while prices for tomatoes, avocados, and cucumber were lower. Banana prices ($3.05 per kilo) are now at their highest level since their series began.

Meat, poultry, and fish prices increased 2.5 percent, reflecting higher prices for beef (up 8.0 percent), which is now 0.3 percent below the peak in January 2015.

Grocery food prices increased 0.5 percent in the year to March, influenced by higher prices for cakes and biscuits (up 7.2 percent), fresh milk (up 2.4 percent), and yoghurt (up 7.8 percent). This was partly offset by lower bread, butter, and cheese prices. Supermarkets discounting some own-brand bread to about $1.00 from the second half of last year contributed to lower bread prices.

The food price index (FPI) measures the rate of price change of food and food services purchased by households. Statistics NZ visits shops across New Zealand to collect prices for the FPI and check package sizes.

Ends

For media enquiries contact: Chris Pike, Wellington 04 931 4600, info@stats.govt.nz
Authorised by Liz MacPherson, Government Statistician, 15 April 2015

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