By 1News

The cost of fruit and vegetables has risen by 10% from April last year to May this year as concerns around the cost of living crisis continue to mount.

Food prices were 6.8% higher in May 2022 compared to the same time last year, up from an increase of 6.4% in April 2022 compared to April 2021, according to the latest figures out of Statistics New Zealand's Food Price Index.

The increase is lower than the 7.6% increase seen in food prices between March 2021 and March 2022 – the largest increase since 2011, when prices rose 7.9% on the previous year.

The 6.8% annual increase could be attributed to a rise across all the broad food categories measured by Stats NZ, including grocery food prices, which increased by 7.4%; restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices, which increased by 6%; fruit and vegetable prices, which increased by 10%; meat, poultry, and fish prices, which increased by 7%; and non-alcoholic beverage prices, which increased by 2.7%.

Grocery food was the largest contributor to the movement, followed by restaurant and ready-to-eat meals.

"Average prices for grocery food items like yogurt, milk, and cheese were all notably higher than they were in May 2021," consumer prices manager Katrina Dewbery said.

Food prices were 0.7% higher in May 2022 compared to the same time last month.

The 1.1% rise in grocery food prices was the largest contributor to the movement, led by an increase in the price of yogurt, with the price of the average six-pack rising from $5.60 to $6.40.

Dewbery noted many dairy items have also increased in price over the past month, including butter, milk and cheese.

“We have also seen increases in prices paid for dairy manufacturers’ goods and services in our producer’s price index."

Meanwhile, restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food were also 1.0% higher in May 2022 compared to the previous month. It was preceded by a 1.4% increase between March and April this year – the largest monthly rise in over 10 years.

After removing regular seasonal impacts, food prices rose 0.8%.

“As the seasonally adjusted figure is similar to the headline figure, we can conclude that the price increases for the month did not have seasonal movement as a main factor,” Dewbery said.

Top Image: Person buying fruits at the market. Photo: blackCAT/iStock

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