Agribusiness

Broccoli and lettuce prices jump

broccoli stock image

Broccoli prices more than doubled in January 2019, while lettuce prices rose almost 80 percent, Stats NZ said.

The average price of a 350g head of broccoli was $2.76 in January 2019, up from a near seven-year low of $1.25 in December 2018.

“A bumper December harvest contributed to particularly low broccoli prices in December 2018,” consumer prices manager Caroline White said. “As the harvest returned to normal levels, we saw a larger than usual price rise.”

Lettuce prices rose 79 percent in January 2019. The price of a 500g head of lettuce was $1.86 in January 2019, compared with $1.04 in December 2018.

“The price of lettuce in January this year (2019) was more than 50 cents a head higher than the same month last year (2018),” Ms White said.

The price for a 200g avocado fell to $1.58 in January 2019, a drop of 43 percent from January 2018. Avocado prices were particularly high in early 2018, due to the small harvest.

The price of milk also fell to a 19-month low in January 2019, to $3.49 per two-litre bottle of standard dark blue top.

“Supermarket milk prices are highly influenced by the farmgate milk price,” Ms White said. “Fonterra’s forecast milk payout was cut multiple times from May last year (2018). While dairy farmers face tougher times, consumers usually benefit from the lower prices when supermarkets pay less to the suppliers.”

Yoghurt prices rose 14 percent, coming off specials in late 2018. Cheese prices rose 4.6 percent, and butter prices rose 2.4 percent.

Overall, food prices rose 1.0 percent in January 2019, compared with December 2018.

Food prices were up 0.8 percent in the year to January 2019, mainly driven by higher prices for ready-to-eat food (up 3.3 percent), milk, cheese and eggs (up 2.9 percent) and restaurant meals (up 2.3 percent), partly offset by lower fruit prices (down 5.8 percent).

Source: Stats NZ

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