If you live in New Zealand, you have probably noticed that prices have increased considerably over the past couple of years. However, perhaps there is now some good news: Statistics New Zealand reported in November that food prices fell slightly in October, although they are still higher than a year ago.
Statistics New Zealand calculates the Food Price Index every month, to measure the changes in prices that households pay for food. Their latest report showed that food prices in October were 0.9% lower than in September. Fruit and vegetable prices fell 3.4%, and grocery foods, such as cheese, white bread and muesli bars, dropped 0.8%. Meat, poultry and fish prices were down 0.7%. In contrast, restaurant meals and takeaway food prices rose 0.2% from September.
This may be a relief for people who are struggling with the cost of living, but in comparison with October 2022, food prices were 6.3% higher this October. The most significant increases were in grocery foods, which rose 7.9%, and restaurant meals and takeaway food prices, which were up 7.7%. Fruit and vegetable prices increased 3.3%, as did meat, poultry and fish prices.
New Zealand is not the only country where prices have increased over recent years. Inflation is currently a global problem, with food prices in OECD countries going up 7.4% in October. In the United Kingdom, food prices rose by 10.1% in the year to October 2023. Like other countries, New Zealand has been affected by supply problems after the pandemic, but there are other reasons for inflation here. In February Cyclone Gabrielle damaged many crops and affected supply. In addition, some people think there should be more competition in the supermarket sector to bring prices down.
household – all the people who live together in one house
poultry – meat from birds such as chickens and geese
OECD – Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. There are 38 countries in the OECD.