12.1 percent increase in latest food price index, largely fed by grocery prices

Food prices are 12.1 percent higher this year compared to March 2022 and it's grocery food that's driving the increase.

The latest figures released by Stats NZ on Monday revealed food prices were 12.1 percent higher in March 2023 than in March 2022.

Stats NZ consumer prices manager Jame Mitchell said an increase in prices for barn or caged-raised eggs, potato chips and 6-pack yogurt were the largest drivers within grocery food. 

There were annual increases across the broad food categories Stats NZ measures, grocery food prices increased by 14 percent and fruit and vegetable prices increased by 22.2 percent.

"The second-largest contributor to the annual movement was fruit and vegetables. The increase was driven by tomatoes, potatoes and avocados."

Restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices increased too by 8.7 percent. Meat, poultry and fish saw an increase of 7.8 percent. 

Non-alcoholic beverage prices increased by 8.2 percent. 

Monthly food prices rose 0.8 percent in March compared with February, and after adjusting for seasonal effects, they were up 0.5 percent. 

"The 2.3 percent increase in grocery food was the largest contributor to the monthly movement. Within this group, the items having the greatest impact were barn or cage-raised eggs, 6-pack yoghurt, and boxed chocolates."