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The cost of eating - up 7.9 percent on a year ago

Thursday 25 Aug 2011 11:32a.m.

Meat and vegetables power food price rise

By Dan Satherley

Food prices have risen 7.9 percent in the past year, most of it down to the increasing cost of vegetables.

And the rising cost of food is gaining pace – in May prices rose 0.5 percent, in June, 1.4 percent and in July, 2 percent.

Vegetables account for much of the rise, up 15.9 percent on a year ago.

Tomatoes are up 34 percent, lettuce 20.7 percent, broccoli 66.6 percent, capsicums 28.6 percent and cucumber, up 20.7 percent.

"Prices for tomatoes and capsicum were influenced by lower imports from flood-affected Queensland," says ASB economist Chris Tennant-Brown.

Only nectarines bucked the trend, down 38.4 percent.

Meat and poultry is up 6.8 percent – chicken alone up 8.6 percent and lamb, now at record prices, up 23.9 percent.

Yoghurt is also at a record high, up 14.7 percent in the last year.

The total 7.9 percent increase in food prices includes the 2.2 percent increase caused by the Government's raising of GST to 15 percent.

"Food price inflation has picked up over recent months, reflecting high global agricultural prices as well as some weather related disruptions earlier in the year," says Mr Tennant-Brown.

"While there has been some easing in soft commodity prices recently, prices are expected to remain high due to strong global demand."

Statistics NZ says of every $100 spent on food, only $14 is spent on vegetables. Takeaways and eating out accounts for $21, meat and poultry $16, and grocery items $38.

The remaining $11 is spent on non-alcoholic beverages.

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