Dairy price rises lift overall food costs

Dairy product prices, including those for butter, fresh milk, cheese and yoghurt, continue to push food prices higher and households are finding it harder to put food on the table.

Statistics New Zealand figures released yesterday showed food prices increased 3% in the year ending September, following a 2.3% rise for the year to August.

Consumers price index manager Matthew Haigh said for every $100 spent on food, New Zealanders spent about $10 on dairy items.

Butter prices continued to increase through the month of September to their highest level.

The price of the cheapest available 500g block of butter was $5.55 in September, up from $3.48 in September last  year, he said.

Wet weather this year contributed to an increase in vegetable prices which were up 6.5% in the year to September. Higher potato and kumara prices contributed to the rise.

However, monthly food prices fell 0.2% in the month of September, following a fall in vegetable prices.

Prices for cucumber, lettuce and capsicum led the drop in vegetable prices in September, Mr Haigh said.

The prices for items found in salads typically began to fall in September months as warmer weather arrived, although the falls for September this year had not been as large as in previous years, he said.

Fruit prices fell 0.5%, influenced by lower prices for oranges, grapes and bananas, Mr Haigh said. 


At a glance

Annual change

• The cheapest available 500g block of butter was $5.55 in September, compared with $5.39 in August and $3.48 in September last year

• Fruit and vegetable prices increased 5.7%

• Grocery food prices increased 3.7%

Monthly change

• Fruit and vegetable prices fell 4.9%

• Grocery food prices rose 0.9%

• Meat, poultry and fish prices fell 0.2%

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