Food prices fell last month

Last updated 11:17 12/04/2013

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Cheaper fruit and vegetables, especially apples and tomatoes, helped lower overall food prices by 1.3 per cent in March.

Statistics NZ figures show the fall in March came after a small drop in February but a near 2 per cent lift in January.

Overall, food prices in March were down 0.4 per cent on March last year.

"Apple prices were down a third and tomatoes, at $2.76 a kilo, were the cheapest in more than four years." Statistics NZ prices manager Chris Pike said.

Price falls for apples (down 33 per cent), tomatoes (down 28 per cent), and kumara (down 19 per cent) had most influence.

Apple prices often fall in February and March from an early summer peak. These falls were partly countered by higher banana prices (up 9.8 per cent).

Grocery food prices also fell (down 0.8 per cent), influenced by chocolate bars and blocks (down 11 per cent, due to more discounting).

Boxed chocolates rose 19 per cent after a 21 per cent fall in February. The price of boxed chocolates falls every February, when Valentine's Day occurs.

Increased discounting on ham (down 12 per cent) and a price fall for lamb (down 11 per cent) resulted in a 0.9 per cent price fall for the meat, poultry, and fish group.

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