Annual food prices were 4.5 per cent higher in December 2021 than they were in December 2020, Stats NZ says.
This is the biggest annual increase since September 2011, when annual food prices increased 4.7 per cent.
The main contributor to this increase was higher prices for tomatoes.
Tomatoes nearly doubled in price between December 2020 and December 2021, increasing 99 per cent.
“The weighted average price of 1kg of tomatoes increased from $3.33 in December 2020 to $6.61 in December 2021,” says consumer prices manager Katrina Dewbery.
Higher prices for tomatoes were partly offset by cheaper prices for kiwifruit, kumara, and avocados.
At a more aggregated level, grocery foods had the biggest impact on the annual food prices movement, increasing 4.5 per cent.
Within this, yoghurt, standard two-litre milk, and fresh eggs were the main contributors.
Restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices increased 5.1 per cent.
Households spend more on grocery food than on restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food. Therefore, price changes for grocery food have more impact on the index.
Monthly food prices up 0.6 per cent
Food prices rose 0.6 per cent in December 2021 compared with November 2021.
There were higher prices for:
- fruit and vegetables, up 2.6 per cent
- restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food, up 0.8 per cent
- grocery food, up 0.6 per cent.
These were partly offset by lower prices for:
- non-alcoholic beverages, down 1.2 per cent
- meat, poultry, and fish, down 0.6 per cent.
Within fruit and vegetables, higher prices for potatoes, onions, and apples were partly offset by lower prices for nectarines, courgettes, and cucumbers.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, overall food prices rose 0.6 per cent. This shows that food prices increased by more than they usually do in December.