Food prices fall, biggest monthly drop in 3 years
Updated 1:30PM Friday Sep 11, 2009

Food price index.

Food prices fell by 0.9 per cent in August from July, the largest monthly fall in more than 3 years.

Lower prices for grocery food, and fruit and vegetables accounted for nearly all of the drop in the food price index, Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) said today.

In August grocery food prices fell 1.3 per cent, with bread down 2.7 per cent, chocolate biscuits down 6.3 per cent, and cheddar cheese down 6.2 per cent.

Prices for cheddar cheese, milk, and butter returned to levels last seen in late 2007 or early 2008, SNZ said.

Fruit and vegetable prices dropped 3.3 per cent, driven by a 10 per cent fall in tomato prices, a 21 per cent drop for strawberries, broccoli down 21.8 per cent, and avocados down 25 per cent.

For the year to August, food prices rose 4.6 per cent, the smallest annual increase since January 2008.

Four subgroups recorded increases for the year, with grocery food up 4.4 per cent, meat, poultry and fish up 9.2 per cent, non-alcoholic beverages up 7.9 per cent, and restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food up 3.7 per cent.

The fruit and vegetables subgroup fell 1.1 per cent in the year to August 2009, the first annual fall since February 2008, SNZ said.

The most significant downward contribution came from a 15.9 per cent fall in the price of lettuce, which was particularly high in August 2008 due to unusually wet weather.

- NZPA

From here.