July 14th, 2024

Food prices see smallest annual increase since 2018

Cheaper produce and meat contribute to modest inflation rise

The significant decrease in fruit and vegetable prices has been a major factor in the overall modest inflation.
The significant decrease in fruit and vegetable prices has been a major factor in the overall modest inflation.

Food prices in New Zealand increased by a mere 0.2% in the year leading up to May 2024, marking the smallest annual rise since September 2018, according to data released by Stats NZ.

The slight annual increase is a significant drop compared to the 0.8% annual rise reported in April 2024. This decrease is primarily attributed to lower prices for fruit and vegetables, which fell by 11.4%, and meat, poultry, and fish, which dropped by 1.2%.

Breakdown of food price changes:

Fruit and vegetables: The significant decrease in fruit and vegetable prices has been a major factor in the overall modest inflation. Prices for mandarins, potatoes, and apples were notably lower, contributing to this decline.

Meat, poultry, and fish: Prices in this category fell by 1.2% over the 12 months to May 2024. This is part of a broader trend, with prices for these products showing fluctuations over the past four years.

Restaurant meals and groceries rise

In contrast to the overall trend, prices for restaurant meals and ready-to-eat foods rose by 4.8%, while grocery food prices increased by 1.3%. Non-alcoholic beverages saw a 2.7% rise in prices.

Cheese prices at a five-year low

The price of cheese has seen a significant drop, with a 1kg block of cheese costing $10.02 in May 2024, down from $13.60 in May 2023. This decrease is the largest among individual food items and has contributed to the overall slower growth in food prices.

Monthly food price changes

In May 2024, food prices fell by 0.2% compared to April 2024, following a 0.6% increase in the previous month. The month-on-month decline was driven by lower prices for grocery foods, such as yoghurt and potato crisps, and continued drops in fruit and vegetable prices.

Petrol prices drop in May

Alongside the decrease in food prices, petrol prices in New Zealand also fell in May 2024. Petrol prices dropped by 2.6%, while diesel prices fell by 3.3% compared to April 2024.