Vegetable prices shoot up in July 2018

Higher prices for vegetables led food price inflation of 0.7 percent in July 2018, Stats NZ said.

Vegetable prices rose 9.2 percent in the month of August 2018, with higher prices for fresh lettuce (up 77 percent), tomatoes (up 30 percent), and broccoli (up 24 percent) making the largest contributions. After adjusting for seasonal effects, vegetable prices rose 3.8 percent.

The price of a 500g head of lettuce was $5.42 in July 2018, compared with $3.07 in June 2018, and $3.30 in July 2017.

“Lettuce prices are now at their highest since the series began, and 2.5 percent higher than their previous peak in May 2017,” consumer prices manager Geraldine Duoba said.

“July 2018 was particularly cold and wet in the North Island where a lot of our lettuce is grown.”

A 7.9 percent fall in fruit prices partly offset the rise in vegetable prices. Seasonally cheaper avocados (down 36 percent) had the largest impact, followed by nectarines and strawberries. After adjusting for seasonal effects, fruit prices fell 2.2 percent.

Food prices up 1.1 percent in the year to July 2018

Restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices increased 3.2 percent from the start of 2018 to July 2018, the highest annual increase since September 2011. All items priced in this category increased in price during 2018.

“Large seasonal changes in fruit and vegetable prices tend to lead monthly food price movements,” Mrs Duoba said. “But price increases for restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food have been consistent, and led annual food price inflation in 2018.”

Source: Stats NZ

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