Broccoli and lettuce prices jump in January

Some vegetables have recorded big prices rises, after a bumper December kept prices down.

Stats NZ Food Price Index showed broccoli prices more than doubled in January 2019, while lettuce prices rose almost 80 percent.

The average price of a 350g head of broccoli was $2.76 in January, up from a near seven-year low of $1.25 in December.

"A bumper December harvest contributed to particularly low broccoli prices in December 2018," said consumer prices manager Caroline White.

"As the harvest returned to normal levels in January, we saw a larger than usual price rise," she said.

Lettuce prices rose 79 percent in January. The price of a 500g head of lettuce was $1.86 in January 2019, compared with $1.04 in December 2018.

Broccoli and lettuce prices jump in January
Photo credit: Supplied.

"The price of lettuce in January this year was more than 50 cents a head higher than the same month last year," said Ms White.

The price for a 200g avocado fell to $1.58 in January 2019, a drop of 43 percent from January 2018. Avocado prices were particularly high in early 2018, due to the small harvest.

The price of milk also fell to a 19-month low in January 2019, to $3.49 per two-litre bottle of standard dark blue top.

"Supermarket milk prices are highly influenced by the farmgate milk price."

"Fonterra's forecast milk payout was cut multiple times from May last year. While dairy farmers face tougher times, consumers usually benefit from the lower prices when supermarkets pay less to the suppliers."

Broccoli and lettuce prices jump in January
Photo credit: Supplied

Yoghurt prices rose 14 percent, coming off specials in late 2018. Cheese prices rose 4.6 percent, and butter prices rose 2.4 percent.

Overall, food prices rose 1.0 percent in January 2019, compared with December 2018.

Food prices were up 0.8 percent in the year to January 2019, mainly driven by higher prices for ready-to-eat food (up 3.3 percent), milk, cheese and eggs (up 2.9 percent) and restaurant meals (up 2.3 percent), partly offset by lower fruit prices (down 5.8 percent).