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Food prices down in May – Media release

15 June 2020

Food prices fell 0.8 percent in May 2020, the largest monthly decrease since December 2017, Stats NZ said today.

This month’s price drop was influenced by lower prices for grocery foods (down 1.1 percent), meat, poultry, and fish (down 2.0 percent), and non-alcoholic beverages (down 2.4 percent). These were partly offset by price rises for fruit and vegetables (up 1.7 percent), which often happens as winter approaches.

In May 2020, prices fell for instant coffee (down 11 percent), chicken pieces (down 8.5 percent), mandarins (down 31 percent), and potato crisps (down 6.5 percent). Prices for broccoli, a cool-season crop, also fell in May (down 26 percent), as it usually does at this time of year.

In contrast, monthly prices for tomatoes went up.

Avocado prices down for the year

Food prices increased 2.9 percent in the year ended May 2020. This rise was influenced by increases in dining out for lunch (up 6.2 percent), potatoes (up 37 percent), and bacon (up 19 percent), while prices for avocados, chicken breasts, and chicken pieces all decreased.

Avocado prices decreased almost 62 percent in the year, to a weighted average price of $2.21 per 200 grams. This is about $3.50 cheaper than this time last year.

“Cafes and restaurants were closed for the first half of May and customer numbers were limited due to COVID-19 restrictions for the rest of the month,” consumer prices manager Bryan Downes said.

“Because of this, New Zealand has seen a surplus of avocados, driving prices down for supermarkets and greengrocers.

“We typically see a price peak for avocados around May or June, but so far this year we have seen a much smaller price rise than normal.”

In the year to May 2020, prices for chicken breasts decreased 16 percent, while prices for chicken pieces decreased 7.8 percent.