12th May 2022 By Staff Reporter | firstname.lastname@example.org | @foodtickernz
Food price inflation remains high but has eased back from the 10-year record of 7.6% reported for March 2022 to come in at 6.4% for the year to April, according to Stats NZ.
The agency said there were rises across all the broad food categories but the main driver was a 6.4% hike in grocery food with price increases to cheddar cheese, milk, and eggs singled out as the main contributors.
This makes a change from previous months when surging double-digit inflation in the fruit and vegetable category were the main category culprit.
Stats NZ said that in the April year, fruit and vegetable prices were up 9.4% – still reflecting significant inflation, but a big moderation compared with the 18% and 17% annual jumps reported in the previous two months.
Elsewhere, meat, poultry, and fish prices increased 8.1%, restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices increased 5.3% and non-alcoholic beverage prices increased 2.8% compared with a year ago.
Globally and domestically, food producers and manufacturers have been battling transport and fuel costs, global supply chain issues, currency changes, skills shortages and increases in the price of equipment and ingredients which have escalated over the past year.
“Inflation of food prices has generally been increasing since a low of 0.5% in the year to March 2021,” said Stats NZ’s consumer prices manager, Katrina Dewbery.
“This followed a period from October 2011 when food price annual inflation was mostly under 2.5%.”
On a monthly basis, prices overall had not changed greatly in April, according to Stats NZ, which said food prices were just 0.1% higher compared with March 2022.
However, looking by category, an increase in the minimum wage from $20.00 to $21.20 on 1 April coincided with the largest monthly increase in over a decade for restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food coming in 1.4% more expensive than a month earlier.
By product, this was mainly due to higher prices for dine-in lunches, hamburgers, and coffee.
“We often see price rises in restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food following an increase in the minimum wage,” Dewbery said.
“Even so, the last time restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food had a monthly rise of this scale was following the increase in GST to 15% in October 2010, when there was a 1.9% increase.”
The monthly breakdown also illustrated the heat coming out of the fruit and vegetable category, with a 3.1% fall mainly due to lower prices for broccoli, lettuce, and kiwifruit.
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