Egg prices crack $4.43 a dozen

The price of eggs has continued to rise, reaching a record high in April as more farmers switch to free-range production.

StatsNZ's Food Price Index shows egg prices were at $4.43 a dozen, with a national egg shortage one of the reasons suggested for the rise. 

StatsNZ said industry reports suggest farmers are switching away from caged hens to more expensive, free-range egg production, meaning that egg supply is down as hen flock sizes are reduced.

As a result, the weighted average price of both caged and barn eggs increased to $4.43 a dozen in April 2019, up from $3.89 a dozen in April 2018.

"A decade ago, a single egg cost 28 cents, and in April this year it reached 37 cents an egg," said StatsNZ consumer prices manager Gael Price.

Meanwhile, seasonal falls in fresh fruit and vegetables resulted in an overall fall in monthly food prices.

Overall food prices fell 0.1 percent in April 2019. Vegetable prices fell 2.6 percent and fruit prices fell 2.1 percent, offsetting the price rises for ready-to-eat food, milk, cheese, and eggs.

Kiwifruit had a seasonal fall in price in April, down 18 percent, and apple prices fell 7.9 percent.

Lettuce prices fell 6.7 percent in April and broccoli prices fell 12 percent. The average price of a 350g head of broccoli was $2.08 in April, down from $2.36 in March and $2.18 a year ago.