Fruit and veges keeping grocery bills up

Statistics NZ says the cost of produce rose 8.9 percent in the past 12 months (file)
Statistics NZ says the cost of produce rose 8.9 percent in the past 12 months (file)

Countdown says despite double-digit price rises for fruit and veges, an average grocery shop is cheaper than it was two years ago.

But the 13.2 percent hike for produce prices is above what Statistics NZ has measured in the past year, with the supermarket blaming "seasonal factors".

Compared to last year, at Countdown:

"Across the board, avocados continue to deliver hyperinflation as stock availability dwindles," says general manager of merchandise Chris Fisher.

"However the good news is that new season stock is expected to be available in late June, and indications for a large crop mean consumers should expect reduced prices."

Overall, Statistics NZ says the cost of produce rose 8.9 percent in the past 12 months, and 5.3 percent in the year before that.

Overall, food prices increased 0.5 percent in the year to April, and 1 percent the year before that, with rises in produce balanced with drops in meat, poultry, fish and other general grocery items.

Countdown measures its year-on-year pricing with the 'Basket of 100', which includes non-food items like health, beauty and cleaning products. By its measure, a typical shop has dropped 0.9 percent in the past 12 months and 2.5 percent in the past two years.

"While there will always be prices that are out of our control due to external factors, overall our 'Price Lockdown' programme continues to deliver significant savings for our customers," says Mr Fisher.

But Consumer magazine surveys consistently show rival Pak 'n Save to be less expensive than Countdown, and both cheaper than New World (which shares an owner with Pak 'n Save).

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