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Food prices rose 0.6 percent in February 2012, and were up 1.5 percent on a year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said today.
In February, higher prices for non-alcoholic beverages (up 3.0 percent), meat, poultry, and fish (up 1.7 percent), and grocery food (up 0.6 percent) were partly offset by lower prices for fruit and vegetables (down 2.0 percent).
Non-alcoholic beverages were the main contributor to the rise in the food price index (FPI). Less discounting influenced the prices of soft drinks (up 2.5 percent), fruit juices (up 7.6 percent), and energy drinks (up 5.0 percent).
The next largest contributor was meat, poultry, and fish. Prices for chicken pieces rose 11 percent, following an 8.7 percent fall in the previous month. Both price changes were influenced by the level of discounting.
The fruit and vegetables subgroup was the strongest downward contributor to the FPI. Vegetable prices fell 2.0 percent, while fruit prices fell 1.9 percent. A large fall in the price of pumpkin (down 42 percent) followed higher-than-usual prices in December 2011 and January 2012. However, pumpkin prices were still 26 percent higher than in February 2011. Apple prices fell 10 percent – they usually fall by more than 20 percent in February.
Lower prices were recorded for fresh milk (down 1.5 percent).
In the year to February 2012, four of the five food subgroups made upward contributions to the FPI. The main contribution came from grocery food (up 2.4 percent). Meat, poultry, and fish prices also increased (up 2.4 percent), as did restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food (up 1.8 percent) and non-alcoholic beverages (up 3.7 percent). The fruit and vegetables subgroup decreased 4.6 percent.
The FPI measures the rate of price change of food and food services purchased by households. Statistics NZ visits shops across New Zealand to collect prices for the FPI and check package sizes.