Pain at the checkout: Annual food prices highest rise in a decade

Kiwi shoppers are paying more for their groceries as annual food prices hit a new 10-year high, according to Stats NZ.

The latest food price index revealed annual food prices were 5.9 per cent higher in January 2022 than the previous year.

This was the biggest annual increase since August 2011, when prices rose by 6.6 per cent.

Monthly food prices also rose 2.7 per cent in January 2022, from December 2021. This was the biggest monthly rise in five years – when the cost of food rose 2.8 per cent in January 2017.

After removing regular seasonal impacts, monthly food prices rose 1.1 per cent in January.

While food prices often increase in January, consumer prices manager Katrina Dewbery said “prices increased by more than usual this January.”

In January 2021, monthly food prices rose 1.3 per cent, and in January 2020 they rose 2.1 per cent, both before removing the impact of seasonality.

Stats NZ data showed 76 per cent of all items increased in price in January.

Fruit and vegetable prices were the main contributor for both monthly and annual food price increases, up 9.9 per cent from last month and 15 per cent over the last year.

Leading the way was the rise in the cost of tomatoes, with an average 1kg price of $7.29 in January 2022, compared with $2.94 in January 2021.

There were also higher prices for broccoli, lettuce, apples, strawberries, and kiwifruit. These were partly offset by lower prices for beans, grapes, and courgettes.

There were higher prices for all food groupings in January. Meat, poultry, and fish prices rose 3.6 per cent; grocery foods prices rose 1.6 per cent; non-alcoholic beverages prices rose 2.3 per cent; and restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices rose 0.3 per cent.

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