Blame the tomatoes: Annual food price increase the highest in a decade

by | Jan 27, 2022 | News

Annual food prices were 4.5 percent higher in December 2021 than they were in December 2020, Stats NZ said today. This is the biggest annual increase since September 2011, when annual food prices increased 4.7 percent.

The main contributor to this increase was higher prices for tomatoes. Tomatoes nearly doubled in price between December 2020 and December 2021, increasing 99 percent.

At a more aggregated level, grocery foods had the biggest impact on the annual food prices movement, increasing 4.5 percent. Within this, yoghurt, standard two-litre milk, and fresh eggs were the main contributors. Restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices increased 5.1 percent. Households spend more on grocery food than on restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food. Therefore, price changes for grocery food have more impact on the index.

Within fruit and vegetables, higher prices for potatoes, onions, and apples were partly offset by lower prices for nectarines, courgettes, and cucumbers.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, overall food prices rose 0.6 percent. This shows that food prices increased by more than they usually do in December.

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Peter Wright

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