Food prices declined 0.5 percent on year in August, Statistics New Zealand said on Friday, after falling 1.8 percent in July.
Among the individual categories, prices were down 2.1 percent for grocery food and 0.7 percent for meat, poultry and fish. Offsetting the decline, restaurant meal prices were up 1.3 percent.
"Food prices are slightly lower than a year ago, reflecting cheaper vegetables, dairy products and lamb," prices manager Chris Pike said in a statement accompanying the data "Annual food prices have now fallen for four months in a row. This hasn't happened since 2010, when a run of four annual falls also ended in August."
Among individual items, lettuce was down 39 percent, followed by fresh milk (down 9.2 percent), and broccoli (down 50 percent). Lamb prices decreased 19 percent from their peak in August 2011.
The food items that increased most for the year were: tomatoes (up 26 percent), fresh chicken pieces (up 9.2 percent), and kumara (up 90 percent).
Kumara prices reached their highest level since February 2008, influenced by low prices in August 2011 and poor weather conditions in both the planting and harvesting seasons, which affected this year's crop.
On a monthly basis, food prices were up 0.1 percent after adding 0.2 percent in the previous month.
Fruit and vegetable prices rose 1.5 percent, reflecting higher tomato prices (up 31 percent). Non-alcoholic beverage prices rose 1.3 percent, reflecting higher prices for fruit juice and soft drinks.
These prices were influenced by less discounting than in July 2012. Grocery food prices fell 0.7 percent - the fifth fall in six months.
by RTT Staff Writer
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