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Shock: seasonal vegetables’ prices fall when in season

When veges come into season their prices fall. That’s the unsurprising news behind food prices falling 0.9 percent in October 2021 compared with September 2021, mainly influenced by lower prices for fruit and vegetables, non-alcoholic beverages, and meat, poultry, and fish, Stats NZ say.

October’s movement is the first monthly fall since February 2021, when prices also fell 0.9 percent. After adjusting for seasonality, prices fell 0.1 percent in October 2021.

Fruit and vegetable prices fell 5.9 percent in October, with lower prices for tomatoes (down 26 percent), iceberg lettuce (down 23 percent), capsicums (down 22 percent), and cucumbers (down 25 percent). These falls were partly offset by rising prices for kiwifruit (up 41 percent), broccoli (up 9.8 percent), and carrots (up 9.5 percent).

“The weighted average price of tomatoes was $12.04 per kilogram in October, down from $16.27 in September,” consumer prices manager Katrina Dewbery said.

“However, tomato prices are still 47 percent higher than they were in October 2020, when the weighted average price was $8.18 per kilogram. Lettuce, capsicum, and cucumber prices are also all higher than they were in October last year.”

After adjusting for seasonal effects, fruit and vegetable prices fell 0.2 percent in October.


“The small movement in the seasonally adjusted series for fruit and vegetables indicates that most of the 5.9 percent fall in the non-seasonally adjusted series was due to seasonality,” Mrs Dewbery said.

Prices for non-alcoholic beverages fell 1.6 percent in October, mainly influenced by lower prices for 1.5 litre soft drinks (down 6.8 percent).

Meat, poultry, and fish prices fell 0.4 percent in October, with lower prices for chicken pieces (down 2.1 percent) and roasting pork (down 6.0 percent).

These falls were partly offset by restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices (up 0.4 percent). Grocery food prices were flat.

Annually, food prices increased 3.7 percent in October 2021, mainly due to higher prices for restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food (up 5.0 percent), fruit and vegetables (up 9.0 percent), and grocery food (up 3.1 percent).

“October’s annual movement is slightly lower than September’s 4.0 percent increase, but still higher than the average annual increase over the last year of 2.3 percent,” Mrs Dewbery said.

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Vincent Heeringa

Vincent Heeringa

Vincent Heeringa is a communications strategist, writer, marketer and PR expert specialising in tech, investment, and sustainability. He was co-founder of Idealog, Stoppress and Good magazines and helped establish the Science Media Centre. He is the host of a podcast ‘This Climate Business’, co-founder of The, and a trustee of the Adventure Specialties Trust. And there's nothing he loves more than a good story.

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