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Thread: Food price hikes lead to health warnings

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    Default Food price hikes lead to health warnings

    Food price hikes lead to health warnings
    By SUSAN PEPPERELL - Sunday Star Times
    Last updated 07:31 12/07/2009

    New figures reveal an alarming rise in the cost of feeding a family healthily, and a leading nutrition expert warns that the price increases will have long-term health impacts.

    Each year, Otago University's human nutrition department surveys five cities to determine how much it costs to do a weekly shop that meets nutritional requirements.

    This year the survey found the rise was at least double that of other years. But where you live also dictates how much it costs to feed the family, and it doesn't matter if you buy basic food or add a few luxury items to your trolley - the jump is still significant.

    Although the study provides extensive analysis of food costs per person, the Sunday Star-Times has broken this down into one typical family situation.

    Our family comprises two adults, a teenage boy and a teenage girl. Their weekly grocery bill for food alone, assuming their shopping trolley contained basic foodstuffs, is $260 in Auckland and Wellington, $259 in Christchurch, $256 in Hamilton and $252 in Dunedin.

    That's up almost $20 in the two most expensive cities, $20 in Hamilton and Dunedin and $13 in Wellington. Add in non-food items such as cleaning products and toiletries and the bill goes up by $16 a week. Regional price differences are largely due to distribution costs and availability.

    A moderate shop that contains some convenience food and greater variety leaps to between $328 (Dunedin) and $339 (Wellington) whereas a liberal budget which allows for more expensive cuts of meat, specialty items and convenience products comes in at between $393 (Dunedin) and $407 (Wellington). That would climb again with non-food items costed at $31 for a moderate shop and $48 for a liberal spend.

    Predictably a teenage boy is the most costly person to feed in a family but the bill is roughly the same no matter where he lives. The same cannot be said for adults - their nutritional needs can be met for less in Hamilton and Dunedin, while Wellingtonians and Aucklanders pay the most. Comparisons to five years ago show some startling results - in 2004 a basic shop was $40-50 cheaper for our family.

    Otago's human nutrition head, associate professor Winsome Parnell, was expecting the huge price jump. "Everyone told me prices had been going up dramatically and they were right," she said.

    Parnell added that whenever the cost of meat went up it made a big impression on the household budget. She said the high price of food, coupled with the recession, could have long-term impacts on public health.

    "When money is tight the first thing that people drop is fresh fruit and then fresh dairy products. With fortnightly pay or benefit payments people do one large shop but might not have the cash available to top up with items like fresh milk."

    Parnell said poor nutrition led to compromised immune systems and a deterioration in general health - something that would not be immediately apparent.

    "People buy cheaper, high-fat products that are satisfying but can lead to weight gain."

    Parnell said it was important for the government to review benefit levels and look at how to keep people in work so those affected could afford to feed themselves healthily.

    From here.
    Mother Bear

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  2. #2
    ExPat is offline Member
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    I think much of that has to do with the serious devaluation of the NZ Dollar. I took a look at NZ imports from the official site here:
    Browse - Infoshare - Statistics New Zealand

    and found that there has not been a tremendous increase in imports. There has been a serious devaluation of the NZ currency.
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    Fruit and vege prices leap 15pc in big chill
    The Dominion Post
    Last updated 05:00 17/07/2009

    A cold, early winter has driven fruit and vegetable prices up 15 per cent, contributing to the highest leap in food prices in 20 years.

    Figures out yesterday show the largest monthly increase since July 1989, when GST rose from 10 per cent to 12.5 per cent.

    Higher vege prices accounted for about two-thirds of the increase, with cold weather hampering growth lettuces have more than doubled in price this winter.

    A 5.3 per cent increase in chocolate prices was attributed to a decrease in the size of some blocks, after Cadbury's move to 200g and 210g blocks, which sell at a similar price to Whittaker's 250g products.

    Cadbury has said it is up to shopkeepers whether to lower prices and the changes were made to improve several factors, including mouth-feel.

    On the bright side, cheese prices have fallen more than 15 per cent and restaurant meal prices rose half as much as groceries.

    However, rising costs of living are forcing more people to seek help from food banks.

    Downtown Community Ministry director Stephanie McIntyre said the Wellington agency had seen about a 30 per cent increase in demand for food parcels this year. "And a lot of people who use it are people who use it frequently because they have got unsustainable income levels."

    As well as increases in food prices, rents and power bills were stretching budgets to the limit.

    "Food is seen as discretionary for poor people, which is terrible, but when you're on a very low income you pay rent and power first, because if you don't, you get kicked out or your power cut," Ms McIntyre said.

    The increase in demand had not been met by an increase in donations.

    "Not long ago we had our appeal week and we've gone through it in about a month, and normally that would last us some months."

    NO CHEAP EATS

    No matter where you live in the lower North Island, you can't escape skyrocketing food prices. The Dominion Post took a look at how much 10 basic food items cost: 1kg block of Mainland mild cheese; 1kg premium beef mince; a lettuce; navel oranges per kg; Braeburn apples per kg; family block of Cadbury dairy milk; family block of Whittaker's creamy milk; Wattie's baked beans; family bag Bluebird salt and vinegar potato chips; 1.5kg bag Chelsea white sugar.

    Masterton New World: $49.99

    Masterton Woolworths: $53.58

    Napier New World: $52.74

    Taupo Woolworths: $54.97

    Palmerston North New World: $53.30

    Palmerston North Woolworths: $53.06

    Wellington New World Chaffers: $55.56

    Wellington Woolworths Kilbirnie: $52.48

    From here.
    Mother Bear

    Try to bloom wherever you are planted.

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