Timaru food prices on fast-track

SAHIBAN KANWAL
Last updated 05:00 15/07/2014
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PRICE SWAP: If only fresh, nutrititious ingredients were cheap and greasy, fatty foods were out of our price range.

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For the third month in a row, food prices in Timaru have risen past the nationwide average.

According to the latest Food Price Index (FPI) figures, prices rose 1.4 per cent nationwide in June, but Timaru food prices experienced a bigger leap.

Statistics New Zealand's CPI outputs project manager Sarah Williams said food prices in Timaru rose 2.2 per cent. Food prices in Timaru in the year to June were also substantially higher than the national average.

"In the year to June 2014, food prices in Timaru increased 3 per cent, which compares to a 1.2 per cent increase in the year to June for New Zealand."

Timaru grocery prices rose 2.8 per cent last month, as against the 0.5 per cent rise across the country. At the same time fruit and vegetables in Timaru rose just 3.5 per cent against 5 per cent nationwide.

The national increase in food prices followed a 0.6 per cent increase in both April and May. Timaru prices rose 2 per cent in May.

Statistics New Zealand prices manager Chris Pike, said food prices are at their highest level since they peaked in July 2011.

Food prices in June were influenced by seasonally higher prices for fresh vegetables and higher meat prices.

"Vegetable prices rose 8.9 per cent, while fruit prices fell 0.5 per cent. Higher prices were recorded for tomatoes, lettuce and cucumber. The average tomato price of $9.25 per kilo in June 2014, compares with $8.97 in June 2013 and $10.17 in June 2012," Pike said.

According to the index, mandarins, oranges and bananas fell in June. Banana prices fell to an average of $2.24 a kilo - their lowest level since August 2011. Meat, poultry, and fish rose 3.6 per cent, the largest monthly rise since July 2011. This reflects higher prices for chicken (up 9.9 per cent) and beef (up 5 per cent), both influenced by less discounting.

Grocery food prices rose 0.5 per cent, influenced by higher prices for dairy products.

The FPI measures the rate of price change of food purchased by households. Statistics NZ visits shops across New Zealand to collect prices for the FPI and to check package sizes.

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- The Timaru Herald

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