Spuds take over as favourite vege
Potatoes have nudged out tomatoes as the favourite vegetable in the shopping aisles.
Kiwis bought more than $119 million worth of potatoes in the year to June 2013, according to a household survey by Statistics New Zealand - just ahead of the $118.7m spent on tomatoes.
Tomatoes had been at the top of the favourite vegetables list for at least 10 years.
Technically speaking, tomatoes are fruit, but Statistics NZ, Horticulture New Zealand (HortNZ) and most shoppers consider them to be a vegetable.
Potatoes and tomatoes have grown in popularity, with spending on both increasing by more than $10m since the last survey, in 2010.
The gap between Kiwis' favourite fruit is much wider, with bananas the clear No 1.
About $143m worth of bananas were bought in 2013, up $1m from 2010.
Apples were the runner-up some distance away at $106m.
HortNZ chief executive Peter Silcock said Kiwis were spending more on fruit and vegetables, but also spending more on imported fruit.
"Increasingly, our growers are facing competition from imports during our main production seasons, rather than only during our off-season."
This is one of the reasons HortNZ has been calling for the introduction of compulsory country of origin labelling for all food sold in this country.
Silcock said shoppers often did not realise that the orange or tomato they bought could be from another country.
"Kiwis deserve the right to choose to buy local if they want to. And they need better labelling to be able to do this."
Among the other movers on the list were spinach, up four places from 16th in 2010 ($12m) to 12th in 2013 ($18.3m).
Kumara beat carrots to take fifth place, up from eighth in 2010. Celery lost its place in the top 20, replaced by corn ($11m).
Imported fruit like bananas (first place), grapes (third) and pineapple (11th) went up at the expense of local produce such as oranges (fifth), pears (eighth) and watermelons (18th), which all dropped.
TOP 5 VEGES
1) Potatoes, $119.1m (2nd in 2010)
2) Tomatoes, $118.6 (1st)
3) Lettuce, $66.2m (4th)
4) Mushrooms, $65m (3rd)
5) Kumara, $49.6m (8th)
TOP 5 FRUITS
1) Bananas, $143.5m (1st in 2010)
2) Apples, $106.7m (2nd)
3) Grapes, $51.4m (5th)
4) Mandarins, $47.8m (4th)
5) Oranges, $41.5m (3rd)
Taranaki Daily News