Fast Facts

Olives squeeze out luncheon sausage

Kiwis are spending less on luncheon sausage and more on olives and fresh herbs, Stats NZ said. As a result, the humble sandwich filler is dropping out of the basket used to measure food price inflation.

“Shoppers will still be able to buy luncheon sausage in supermarkets, of course, but that product will no longer be one of the items priced for the food price index, which shows how overall food prices move each month,” prices senior manager Jason Attewell said.

Joining luncheon on the way out of the basket are milkshakes, cottage cheese, alfalfa sprouts, canned corn, taro, and spring onions. New items going into the basket are olives, fresh herbs, and herbal teas.

“We remove items from the basket when their expenditure gets low, or because they are well represented by other items – which is why we’ve removed spring onions and taro in this review. When new items are added to a particular section, we can end up pricing too many things in that section,” Mr Attewell said. “We have been pricing several types of cheese. While making for a great tasting session, there is rarely any difference in price movements between cottage cheese and camembert.”

Stats NZ updates the food price index basket every three years, in order to make sure it reflects what households typically spend on food. For example, in 2008, Stats NZ dropped another meaty treat – saveloys – and hummus dip was added.

“These changes to the food price index basket reflect the changing diets and spending habits of Kiwi households,” Mr Attewell said. “We’re often asked how we choose the items for the food price inflation basket. The answer is that we survey people to find out what they spend their money on.”

Stats NZ prices 162 different foods each month to create the food price index.

Kiwis eating more food on the go

New Zealanders are spending relatively more on restaurant meals and takeaways, and less on grocery items, Stats NZ said. This shift in how we eat has been reflected in changes to New Zealand’s monthly food inflation measure, the food price index.

Source: Stats NZ

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