Vegetable prices up 31 percent in year to May 2017

Higher lettuce prices helped push vegetable prices up a record 31 percent in the year to May 2017, Stats NZ said today. Overall, food prices increased 3.1 percent in the year.

“Our wet autumn has pushed vegetable prices to their highest level in almost six years in May, with the largest annual increase to vegetables on record,” consumer prices manager Matthew Haigh said. “The increase was more pronounced because warmer-than-usual weather in the 2016 growing season resulted in cheaper-than-usual vegetable prices in May last year.”

Higher prices for lettuce, tomatoes, and broccoli pushed up vegetable prices. The average price for a 500g head of lettuce was $5.28 in May 2017, compared with $2.12 in May 2016.

Grocery food prices rose 1.7 percent in the year to May 2017, led by higher prices for dairy products. Prices for fresh milk, cheese, butter, and yoghurt all increased in the year to May 2017. Butter prices were at their highest-ever level, with a 500g block of butter costing $4.80 in May 2017, compared with $3.73 in May 2016.

Monthly food prices up, led by higher vegetable prices

Food prices rose 2.4 percent in May 2017, with all food subgroups rising. After seasonal adjustment, food prices rose 1.6 percent.

Fruit and vegetable prices rose 8.2 percent, with higher vegetable prices up 16 percent (up 11 percent after seasonal adjustment). Prices for lettuce, tomatoes, and kumara all rose in May. Fruit prices fell 3.1 percent, with lower prices for mandarins and kiwifruit partly offset by higher prices for avocados.

Meat, poultry, and fish prices rose 2.3 percent, influenced by higher lamb prices (up 16 percent). The average price for a kilo of lamb leg roast was $15.14 in May 2017, compared with $12.57 in April 2017.

Source: Stats NZ

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