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Food price annual increase highest in over 10 years

Food prices were 7.6 percent higher in March than the year before - the biggest annual increase in more than a decade.

Man carrying plastic bag in his hand after shopping. Closeup of bag full of fruits and vegetables.
Vegetable and fruit prices went up 18 percent in the year ended March 2022. Photo: 123rf

Fruit and vegetable prices rose rose 18 percent, with average prices for vegetables like tomatoes, broccoli, iceberg lettuce, and cabbage "notably higher" than in March 2020 and 2021, StatsNZ consumer prices manager Katrina Dewbery said.

"There were also higher prices for dairy products like two-litre bottles of standard milk and one-kilo blocks of mild cheese."

Meat, poultry, and fish prices increased 8.7 percent, grocery food prices increased 6.7 percent, StatsNZ figures showed.

Restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices went up 5.1 percent and non-alcoholic beverage rose 2.7 percent.

The increase in the cost of food was the largest since the year ended July 2011 when prices rose 7.9 percent, partly influenced by a GST increase from 12.5 percent to 15 percent in 2010.

Prices for avocados, boxed chocolates and bacon went down.

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Grocery prices were the main contributor to the rise in March. Photo: Unsplash/ Eduardo Soares

Monthly food prices rose 0.7 percent in March 2022 compared with February 2022. After removing regular seasonal impacts, food prices rose 0.4 percent.

"Grocery food prices were the main contributor to the rise in March, up 0.9 percent," Mrs Dewbery said.

"This was mainly influenced by higher prices for yoghurt, canned spaghetti, chilled meat pies, and tomato sauce."

Fruit and vegetable prices rose 1.2 percent in March 2022 compared with February 2022, influenced by higher prices for cabbage, tomatoes, strawberries, and kumara.

"The average price of cabbage increased 28 percent in March, from $3.92 to $5.03 per kilogram," Mrs Dewbery said.

Meat, poultry, and fish (up 0.9 percent), non-alcoholic beverages (up 0.9 percent), and restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food (up 0.3 percent) also contributed to the rise in March.

source: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/465203/food-price-annual-increase-highest-in-over-10-years