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Source: MIL-OSI Submissions

Snack food prices up in February – Media release

13 March 2020

Price rises for potato crisps and crackers were offset by falls for apples and boxed chocolates, with overall food prices flat in February 2020, Stats NZ said today.

“Entertaining became more expensive in February as the price of snack foods rose. Potato crisps rose 7.5 percent in February 2020, while crackers were up 12 percent,” consumer prices manager Sarah Johnson said.

These rises contributed to a 3.6 percent rise in snack food prices. Cheese prices, including those for large blocks and fancy cheese, rose 4.1 percent.

Strawberries also saw a typical seasonal price rise, up 22 percent.

Monthly falls for apples and boxed chocolates

Apple prices fell 26 percent in February 2020 to a weighted average price of $3.44 per kilo.

“Apple prices generally peak in January and begin to fall again in February as new season produce hits the shelves,” Mrs Johnson said.

Prices for boxed chocolates also fell, down 23 percent in February to a weighted average price of $6.79 per 250 grams.

“Prices for boxed chocolates often fall in February when they are on special for Valentine’s Day. It’s also common to see price falls in December ahead of Christmas and in May for Mother’s Day,” Mrs Johnson said.

Honey prices fall

Clover honey prices dropped 19 percent in the year ended February 2020 to a weighted average price of $8.20 per 500 grams.

The decrease comes after the Ministry for Primary Industries introduced new definitions for mānuka honey in December 2017.

“The new definitions ensure that mānuka honey produced for export is indeed premium New Zealand mānuka honey,” Mrs Johnson said.

“This has increased the supply of non-mānuka honey, as previously the surplus would have been used as mānuka blend honey. Coupled with an increase in global honey production, these factors have put strong downward pressure on clover honey prices.”

Clover honey prices have dropped 27 percent since December 2017 when the new definitions were introduced, after rising steadily in the three years before that.

Meat and dairy push annual food prices up 3.1 percent

Overall food prices increased 3.1 percent in the year ended February 2020.

“Meat prices, especially for beef and for preserved products such as bacon, rose sharply in the past year and had a large impact on annual food prices,” Mrs Johnson said.

“While coronavirus could impact on international demand and prices for meat, the current annual increases are still showing the impact of higher export demand for New Zealand meat products in 2019, pushing prices up in supermarkets here, too.”

Meat export prices hit record high has more on recent beef export statistics.

Increasing prices for dairy products also contributed to the annual increase in food prices.

In the February 2020 year, significant price rises for meat and dairy included those for:

  • bacon – up 24 percent to a weighted average price of $13.29 per 700 grams
  • cheddar cheese – up 13 percent to a weighted average price of $10.32 per kilo
  • beef mince – up 13 percent to a weighted average price of $16.71 per kilo
  • sausages – up 13 percent to a weighted average price of $10.96 per kilo
  • standard milk – up 4.6 percent to a weighted average price of $3.64 per 2 litres.

These increases were partly offset by decreasing prices for onions (down 14 percent), 350 millilitre energy drinks (down 9.7 percent), and iceberg lettuce (down 17 percent).

MIL OSI