Carrot prices down to seven-year low, annual food prices rise

Carrots are the cheapest they have been in seven years, while prices for capsicums, tomatoes, and cucumbers are falling sharply as spring arrives, said Stats NZ.

Latest food prices figures show the falls have been partly offset by a spike in courgette and broccoli prices, leaving overall fruit and vegetable prices down just 1.9 percent in September, compared to the same month last year.

StatsNZ consumer prices manager Sarah Johnson said the fall was expected.

"Fruit and vegetable prices typically fall in September as the warmer weather arrives and more stock begins to hit the shelves," she said.

Carrot prices fell in September to a weighted average price of $1.79 per kilogram.

Fruit and vegetable prices typically fall in September as the warmer weather arrives.
Fruit and vegetable prices typically fall in September as the warmer weather arrives. Photo credit: Getty

"This is the lowest price for carrots since August 2012," Johnson said.

"Carrot prices are typically down at this time of the year, but prices were even lower in September than they have been for some time."

Many salad ingredients saw the largest monthly price falls between August and September, including capsicum, tomatoes and cumbers.

"Capsicum and cucumber prices typically see large falls in September, while tomato prices become cheaper as summer approaches."

These seasonal falls were partly offset by rising prices for other fruit and vegetables including courgettes, up 76 percent.

Despite the fall in fruit and vegetable prices, overall food prices remained unchanged in September 2019.

Food prices increased 2.2 percent overall in the year ended September 2019, mainly influenced by increasing prices for restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food, up 3.3 percent.

"Rising prices for takeaway foods, like pizza, which is up 5.8 percent, contributed to the overall annual food price increase in the year ended September."

Meat, poultry, and fish prices (up 5.3 percent) also contributed to the annual increase.

Prices for bacon and ham, lamb, and beef remained at higher levels.

"Rising export prices on the back of strong overseas demand for New Zealand meat has put upward pressure on the prices Kiwi consumers pay in store."

"The weighted average price of lamb chops, blade steak, and bacon all reached record highs in September. This follows previous records for bacon in August, lamb chops in July, and blade steak in June and July."

Grocery food (up 1.6 percent) and non-alcoholic beverages (up 1.9 percent) also contributed to the overall annual increase in food prices. 

Fruit and vegetable prices were the only group to buck the upward trend over the year, decreasing 1.0 percent.