Fall in strawberry prices reflects drop in export numbers

Prices for strawberries fell 43 percent in November, as a drop in exports created an abundance of supply back home.

The decline in export numbers was attributed to soaring air freight costs, making exporting products much more expensive . A shortage of workers in the horticulture industry also meant growers couldn't pick their fields fast enough, leading to many strawberries being too ripe to be exported.

The average price of a 250g punnet in November was $3.45, down from $6.04 the month before, according to the latest figures from Stats NZ.

"Prices are lower than we typically see for a November month with December generally being when they are cheapest. Some people may be seeing even cheaper prices during the first half of December," Stats NZ consumer prices manager Katrina Dewbery on Friday.

Tomato prices also fell in November, dropping 51 percent to an average price of $3.99 per kilo. That was down from an all-time high of $13.65 in August this year. 

"Tomato prices have adjusted back down to a price we would expect to see for this time of year, slightly higher than the five-year average price for the November month of $3.74 per kilo," Dewbery said.

Not all fruit was cheaper though, kiwifruit rose to an average price of $7.11 per kilo - 86 cents more expensive than at the same time a year ago.

Kiwifruit prices were up 78 percent on last month, reflecting the fact their season has now ended.

Prices for oranges also rose 34 percent and those for apples were up 13 percent.