Fruit and vegetable prices drop coming into local season

Fruit and vegetable prices fell 5.6 percent in October, as the local harvest season kicks off.

Prices for courgettes had the biggest drop, falling 46 percent to a weighted average price of $6.70 per kilogram, down from an all-time high of $29.60 in July, according to the latest figures from Stats NZ.

Tomatoes also became markedly cheaper, with prices down 38 percent to a weighted average of $8.18 per kg. That was compared to an all-time high of $13.65kg in August. 

The high prices for tomatoes followed the first COVID-19 lockdown when many growers delayed or reduced replanting their tomato crops due to uncertainty and a drop in demand from independent growers, cafes and restaurants.

Cucumber prices fell 29 percent to $7.71 per kg, while lettuce was down 2 percent to $3.64 per kg and capsicum fell 16 percent to $11.85 per kg. 

Nicola Growden, consumer prices manager at Stats NZ, said due to the seasonality of fruit and vegetables it was typical of prices to fall in October and continue getting cheaper until summer. 

"Warmer weather makes it easier to grow many crops, with higher supply making these products cheaper," Growden said on Friday.

Not all fruit and vegetables were cheaper though, with apple prices up 21 percent and kiwfruit prices rising 19 percent. Carrots were also 17 percent more expensive and broccoli prices were up 11 percent.

Overall food prices were up 0.7 percent in October.