Lower vegetable prices have little impact

The Glanville Family: Toni Glanville with children Sarah (5) Emily (5) Catelyn (8) and Charlotte (9)
The Glanville Family: Toni Glanville with children Sarah (5) Emily (5) Catelyn (8) and Charlotte (9)

A national drop in vegetable prices during December has had little effect on a Blenheim mum's routine grocery shop.

Food prices fell 0.1 per cent in December, but were up 1.5 per cent on the same month in 2012, according to Statistics New Zealand.

Vegetable prices fell 3.7 per cent last December, while fruit prices rose 2.4 per cent.

Toni Glanville, a mother of five, said that lower vege prices did not compel her to buy any more than usual.

"I buy veges but not exactly heaps," she said. "I spend about $20-odd on veges, just enough to make it go around."

Buying any more was just a waste of money as produce went off. Most of the grocery spend went on milk, bread and meat, Mrs Glanville said.

Prices for confectionery, nuts, and snacks were down 4.4 per cent for the year to December 2013.

Statistics New Zealand prices manager Chris Pike said that seasonally lower prices for vegetables and more discounting for chocolate and soft drinks were partly countered by higher meat and milk prices.

Mrs Glanville said she tried to avoid putting junk food in her trolley.

"We don't buy a lot of chocolate and the kids don't have fizzy either," she said.

"We just buy a couple of bottles [soft drink] a week and the kids mainly have water and milk."

Benge & Co Green Grocers Blenheim owner Colin Benge said the slight drop in vegetable prices was not having a direct impact on business.

"Fruit and vege is really supply and demand driven," Mr Benge said. "It's a lot to do with how much is available in the market place."

A spokeswoman for Marlborough Family Budgeting Service, which typically sees around 300 clients a year, said that families tended to spend whatever was left over from power bills and other payments on food.

"Food often, when people are struggling, gets the least money attributed to it," she said.


According to the Food Price Index, in the year to December 2013, dairy products recorded the highest price increase: yoghurt was up 10 per cent; fresh milk, 9.4 per cent; cheese, 7.7 per cent.

The price of chicken was up 4.7 per cent, while meat, poultry, and fish were up slightly at 0.8 per cent.

The biggest price drop was recorded for confectionery, nuts, and snacks, which went down 4.4 per cent for the year to December 2013, a result of increased discounting.

The price of chocolate was the lowest since July 2008. - The FPI measures the rate of price change of food and food services purchased by households.

Statistics NZ visits shops across New Zealand to collect prices for the FPI and check package sizes.

The Marlborough Express