As warmer weather arrives, vegetable prices are falling, with lettuce down more than 40 per cent in September, capsicums down about a quarter and tomatoes down 8 per cent.
But seasonally cheaper vegetables just offset more expensive milk, cakes and biscuits during the month.
As a result, overall food prices were unchanged in the month of September, according to Statistics New Zealand.
Compared with a year ago, food prices are up 1.2 per cent.
Overall vegetable prices fell 7.4 per cent, with lettuce the big mover, down 44 per cent.
But grocery items were up almost 1 per cent last month.
The big mover was milk, up 6.4 per cent. The average price of the cheapest available 2-litre container of blue-top milk rose from $3.17 to $3.42.
Bread and cereal products such as cakes and biscuits were up 4.2 per cent.
For the year, food was up 1.2 per cent.
Milk was up 6.4 per cent for the year, as well as for the month, reaching its highest levels since April 2012.
Butter was up 24 per cent in the year.
Vegetables were down 2.3 per cent for the year, the biggest downward contributor, with cheaper broccoli (down 29 per cent), lettuce (down 18 per cent), and tomatoes (down 7.1 per cent) compared with September 2012.
- © Fairfax NZ News