Archer Van Zijl-Reihana (3) eats baked potato with cheese,
carrot and tuna at City Heights Montessori Childcare
yesterday. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
With prices for healthy food rising and junk food getting
cheaper, shopping is becoming tougher - and a researcher says
that supermarkets are not making it any easier.
University of Otago human nutrition researcher Dr Lisa Te
Morenga says the situation was made worse by the supermarkets
running losses on junk foods to bring in customers.
An example of this was a supermarket chain in Dunedin last
week selling chocolate bars for 69c.
The latest Statistics New Zealand food price index showed in
the year to the end of May, fresh milk prices were up 11.1%,
the highest on record, and vegetable prices up 8.7%, while
the price of ''confectionery, nuts and snacks'' was down 4%.
York Place Pre-School and Nursery head teacher Yvonne Baynes
said the rising price of healthy foods meant ''kids are
getting fizz rather than milk''.
''Our lunch-boxes are full of potato chips and Roll-ups
because they are so much cheaper than fruit and vegetables,''
Ms Baynes said.
Apart from making life tougher for parents, rising prices
were also adding to the preschool's costs, as it provided
morning and afternoon tea.
The fact milk was now too expensive for many parents meant
the preschool was giving its children milk twice a day.
Dr Te Morenga said it was disappointing supermarkets promoted
unhealthy foods so heavily.
''They take a loss on those foods, but they don't take a loss
on healthy foods.
''I personally would love to see supermarkets being told they
just cannot heavily discount junk food like that and take
them on as loss leaders.''
The temptation was particularly hard for ''hungry, growing
teenagers'' faced with a decision on how to spend their
Research showed there was a connection between the cost of
both unhealthy and healthy foods and obesity rates -
particularly in children.
''The changing prices of food have a real impact on the
choices made by people on low incomes.''
She also supported introducing taxes on sugary drinks.
''We need to set some ground rules as a society to say these
are the foods we don't want you to be spending your money
A Countdown spokeswoman said it ran specials across its
''full product range''.
''We work really hard to deliver cheaper prices on a variety
of groceries because we know that's important to our
customers,'' the spokeswoman said.
Its prices on fresh produce had increased at ''well below the
national average'' over the past five years, she said.
A spokeswoman for Foodstuffs, which runs New World and Pak'n
Save supermarkets, gave a similar response.
''No single product or group of products is specifically used
to loss lead.
''Each week, an appropriate mix of products are provided on
special to meet our customers' needs,'' the spokeswoman said.
Neither company accepted any responsibility for rising