Cost of living: Food prices rose 10.3 percent in January

  • 14/02/2023

Eggs, cheese and potato chips have helped drive another rise in food prices in January, which increased 10.3 percent year-on-year. 

Stats NZ said grocery food was the main driver of the increase. 

"Increasing prices for cheddar cheese, barn or cage-raised eggs, and potato chips were the largest drivers within grocery food," consumer prices manager James Mitchell said.

Restaurant meals rose by 8.3 percent, fruit and vegetables by 16 percent, meat poultry and fish rose 9.2 percent and non-alcoholic drinks rose 7.1 percent.   

The rise follows an 11.3 percent rise year-on-year in December, the highest in 32 years. 

Monthly food prices rose 1.7 percent in January 2023 compared with December 2022. After adjusting for seasonal effects, they were up 0.3 percent.

Vegetables NZ blamed the rise in fruit and vegetables on the bad weather over the summer. 

"Some vegetable growers in Pukekohe are reporting losses of up to 30 percent due to the weather event that happened in that area in late January. 

"It is too soon to tell how Cyclone Gabrielle will affect vegetable supply, on a national level," Vegetables NZ Chair, John Murphy said.  

"Growers - just like all New Zealanders - are facing increasing costs. Repeated bad weather and poor growing conditions only compound the issue because they reduce supply and increase costs."

Independent economist Brad Olsen told AM Early last month he expected inflationary pressures on food to continue into 2023. 

"Early indications are as we get further into 2023, we're not through those inflationary pressures yet and we do expect food costs will continue to increase," he told AM Early.