Consumer NZ urges Kiwis to avoid big supermarkets to find best deals after latest food price figures

Consumer New Zealand is urging Kiwis to shop around and avoid the big supermarket chains to find the best deals. 

It comes after New Zealand food prices rose again in May, with the cost of fruit, vegetables, dairy and meat all recording notable yearly increases, Statistics NZ said on Tuesday.

Stats NZ's food price index for May showed food prices had grown year-on-year by 6.8 percent.

Consumer NZ chief executive Jon Duffy urged consumers to avoid big supermarket chains to find the best deals. 

"Shop around and put the time and effort in if you have the ability to find the best deals," Duffy told AM co-host Ryan Bridge on Wednesday. 

"Use the internet, use your networks, use your social media groups to find places that are looking to address these issues. Perhaps avoid the supermarket chains where you can, to pick up good deals."

Duffy said his "heart sank" when he saw the latest figures. 

"My heart sank a little bit but I wasn't particularly surprised. Anyone that has been to a supermarket or filled up their car recently will appreciate that prices are rising across the board and food is no exception," Duffy said.

Duffy said it's not just inflation causing prices to increase. Overseas factors like the Ukraine-Russia war and fuel prices are also playing their part. 

Broken down by categories, Stats NZ said grocery food prices increased year-on-year by 7.4 percent, restaurant meals by 6 percent, fruit and vegetables 10 percent, meat, poultry and fish 7 percent and non-alcoholic beverages were up 2.7 percent.

Stats NZ said grocery food was the largest contributor to the overall price increases.

He said there are a few things Kiwis can do to help lower prices. 

"There are things we can do, we have seen supermarkets have bowed to public pressure and rolled back prices on some items and those are good measures," Duffy said.

"There are also other things we can do particularly for those in urban areas who have access to fruit and veggie co-ops and that sort of stuff that is growing and the demand for it is growing. 

"There are alternatives we can use, it's not going to help us avoid all these price increases but it can help us be a bit more sustainable and perhaps save a few dollars, particularly on fruit and vegetables where the prices increasing are the most significant."

Infometrics principal economist Brad Olsen told AM inflation still has a while to run yet. 

"We are sort of not surprised by these numbers anymore .. but geez, just the level of prices increases we are still seeing at the moment shows us that inflation has still got a while to run yet and the numbers do start to hit quite hard," Olsen said.  

Watch the full interview with Jon Duffy above.