Agribusiness

Cheaper to get your 5+ a day at the end of 2018

avocadoes stock image

Avocados and lettuces were much cheaper than the previous summer, but egg prices hit a record high in December 2018, Stats NZ said.

“Overall, getting your five-plus (5+) a day servings of fruit and vegetables was cheaper in 2018,” consumer prices manager Geraldine Duoba said. Fruit prices were 3.8 percent lower in December 2018 than in December 2017, while vegetable prices were 7.5 percent lower.

“Bad weather in 2017 reduced the supply of many vegetables, pushing up their prices,” Ms Duoba said. “Growing conditions were mostly more favourable during 2018, boosting supply and lowering prices.”

Prices of kumara and pumpkins reached record highs in late 2017. These vegetables were 39 and 51 percent cheaper, respectively, in December 2018 compared with December 2017.

Lettuces were 21 percent cheaper in December 2018 than in December 2017. However, in July 2018 they reached a record price of $5.42 per 500g head before falling to $1.04 per head in December 2018.

A smaller than usual avocado harvest resulted in record prices in May 2018, when they reached an average price of $5.06 per 200g avocado. By December 2018, avocado prices had fallen to an average $1.72 per avocado, 26 percent lower than the December 2017 average price of $2.31.

Kiwifruit prices were 24 percent lower in December 2018 compared with December 2017. Overseas merchandise trade data for June 2018 and September 2018 showed export values and volumes were higher than 2017. Favourable weather patterns in 2018 were also likely to have affected kiwifruit supply, keeping domestic prices down.

Eggs reach record high

The cost of a dozen eggs, by contrast, reached a record $4.25 in December 2018, with prices up 10 percent on December 2017.

“Eggs are a staple food for many households,” Ms Duoba said. “Egg industry reports suggest the average New Zealander eats more than 200 eggs a year, with retail sales worth more than $280 million.”

Overall food prices increased 1.0 percent in the December 2018 year, and fell 0.2 percent in the December 2018 month.

Source: Stats NZ

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