This holiday season household shoppers can take comfort in their Christmas groceries being more affordable if they are using fruit and vegetables, with fresh produce prices down for the second month running.
The latest food price index released today by Statistics New Zealand shows a decrease in the price of fresh produce for the months of October and November. In the year-on-year comparison ending November 2011, the cost of fruit and vegetables was down 7.2 percent.
Overall vegetable prices were down 8.8 per cent and fruit prices decreased by 6.1 percent year-on-year. In contrast, overall food prices have risen by 0.2 percent in the last month.
The largest individual downward contributions to the fall in vegetable prices came from seasonally lower prices for lettuce (down 33 percent month-on-month) and tomatoes (down 23 percent month-on-month). Avocados and potatoes also made a significant contribution to the downward trend.
The produce industry has recently come under fire from consumers for high fruit and vegetable prices, and so United Fresh President David Smith is delighted by the latest results.
“The downward trend in the price of fruit and vegetables follows on from decreases in both September and August respectively,” says David.
“Coupled with a decrease in fresh produce prices in the year to October and November 2011, this is great news for household shoppers. At a time of year when finances are under pressure and budgets are stretched it’s a good incentive and enticement for New Zealanders to make healthy food choices over the summer months.”
The seasonal fall in the price of fruit and vegetables was countered by rising grocery food costs for the month. Overall grocery prices rose 0.7 per cent month-on-month in November after consecutive drops in the three months prior (August to October inclusive), according to Statistics New Zealand.
The Food Price Index (FPI) measures the rate of price change in food and food services purchased by households.