Agribusiness

Egg prices crack $4.43 a dozen

eggs stock image

The price of eggs reached a record high of $4.43 a dozen in April 2019, after rising for the past nine months, Stats NZ said.

A national egg shortage may be one of the reasons for the rise in retail egg prices. Industry reports suggest that farmers are switching away from caged hens to more expensive free-range egg production, meaning that egg supply is down as hen flock sizes are reduced.

As a result, the weighted average price of both caged and barn eggs increased to $4.43 a dozen in April 2019, up from $3.89 a dozen in April 2018.

“A decade ago, a single egg cost 28 cents, and in April this year (2019) it reached 37 cents an egg,” consumer prices manager Gael Price said.

The prices for both chocolate and ice cream also hit new peaks in April (2019).

A 250g block of chocolate in supermarkets cost an average of $4.57 in April 2019, 11 percent higher than in March 2019.

“We saw the size of some chocolate blocks were cut since February (2019), while retail prices did not fall by as much,” Ms Price said.

“Average prices moved again in April (2019) when another larger chocolate-maker lifted prices, rather than cutting the weight of its bars.”

The average price for a 2-litre tub of ice cream reached a record high of $6.36 in April 2019, up from $6.11 in March 2019, and $5.54 in April 2018.

Restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food rose 0.9 percent in April 2019 and increased 3.2 percent in the year to April 2019. These rises coincided with a $1.20 an hour increase in the minimum wage from 1 April 2019.

“Prices for restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food usually increase steadily over time. However, April (2019) saw the biggest monthly rise since October 2010,” Ms Price said.

Seasonal falls in fresh fruit and vegetables result in overall fall in monthly food prices

Overall food prices fell 0.1 percent in April 2019. Vegetable prices fell 2.6 percent and fruit prices fell 2.1 percent, offsetting the price rises for ready-to-eat food, milk, cheese, and eggs.

Kiwifruit had a seasonal fall in price in April 2019, down 18 percent, and apple prices fell 7.9 percent.

Lettuce prices fell 6.7 percent in April 2019 and broccoli prices fell 12 percent. The average price of a 350g head of broccoli was $2.08 in April 2019, down from $2.36 in March 2019 and $2.18 a year ago.

Source: Stats NZ

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