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Cheaper vegetables that are now in season helped push the price of food down last month, according to government data.
The Food Price Index fell 1 percent in September, led by an 8.6 percent decline in fresh produce, according to Statistics New Zealand. The monthly fall follows a 1.4 percent drop in August, though the price of food is still 4.7 percent higher than in September last year.
The September fall in fruit and vegetable prices is the largest since a fall of 10.2 percent in February 2006, the department said in its report. While vegetable prices often fall at this time of year, prices are now 19.6 percent from their highest-ever recorded level in July 2011.
The price of grocery food items fell 0.2 percent in September, led by a 2.7 percent decline in pasta products and a 1.1 percent fall in bread prices, though milk, cheese and egg prices crept up 0.2 percent.
Meat, poultry and fish prices rose 0.3 percent in the month, while non-alcoholic drinks gained 1.3 percent and restaurant meals increased 0.2 percent.
The slow-down in rising food prices should help to rein in inflation, which accelerated to 1 per cent in the three months ended June 30, taking the annual pace to 5.3 percent.