Scarce cauliflower price goes ballistic

  • 13/04/2016
High cauliflower prices helped push New Zealand's food prices up 0.5 percent in March (AAP file)
High cauliflower prices helped push New Zealand's food prices up 0.5 percent in March (AAP file)

With dairy farmers struggling, an unlikely new "white gold" has emerged in the shape of the humble cauliflower.

Newspapers ran stories in March highlighting caulis being sold for $10 in Auckland and one bemoaned a $6.99 head costing more than a McDonald's happy meal.

Now the record high average price in March - $8.24 for a 1.5kg head - for the humble brassica is being cited as one of the reasons for helping food prices rise 0.5 percent for the month.

The 66 percent price rise lifted the cauli to its highest price since records began in 1994, Statistics New Zealand says.

"A combination of dry weather and high demand has pushed up prices for a range of vegetables," said consumer prices manager Matt Haigh.

Overall, vegetable prices rose 3.8 percent in March, with lettuce and tomatoes also more expensive.

Stats NZ says grocery food prices rose 0.3 percent in March, influenced by confectionery (up 8.7 percent), snacks (up 5.3 percent) and bread (up 1.6 percent).

Lamb prices were down 5 percent but beef was up 0.7 percent to a record high. The average price of a 1kg porterhouse steak was $30.37 compared with $27.28 in the same month last year.

Food prices account for about 17 percent of the consumers price index with first-quarter figures due for release on Monday.

NZN