Cost of living: Food inflation slows but prices still 8.9 percent higher than last year, Statistics NZ says

Food inflation has continued to slow but prices are still increasing, hurting Kiwis who are battling a long-running cost of living crisis.  

The latest data released by Stats NZ on Wednesday showed the food price index in August rose by 8.9 percent from a year earlier.  

It's just the second single-digit increase this year after food prices rose by 9.6 percent in July. The previous six months all saw increases above 10 percent.  

The data showed monthly food prices rose 0.5 percent in August 2023 compared with July 2023. After adjusting for seasonal effects, they were up by 0.4 percent. 

"Prices for fruit and vegetables such as tomatoes, grapes, cucumbers, and nectarines contributed the most to the overall monthly rise," consumer prices manager James Mitchell said.    

The annual increase was due to rises across all the broad food categories, Mitchell said.   

"The largest contributing food group was grocery food, which includes non-perishables and dairy products," Mitchell said.   

"Fresh eggs, potato crisps, and six-pack yoghurt were the largest drivers within grocery food."  

Grocery food prices led the way increasing by 10.6 percent. The second largest contributor to the annual movement was restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food, which increased by 8.9 percent. The increase in this group was driven by the same contributors as last month - dine-in lunch/brunch, takeaway meals, and dine-in evening meals.  

Other key factors were meat, poultry, and fish prices, which increased by 8 percent, non-alcoholic beverage prices increased by 9.1 percent and fruit and vegetable prices increased by 5.4 percent.