Food prices soar 11.3% in a year, highest increase in 32 years

Thu, Jan 19
A woman buying vegetables at a supermarket.

Food prices have seen the largest annual increase in 32 years as the rising cost of living continues to bite.

The annual increase of 11.3% in December 2022 was attributed to a rise in cost across all the broad food categories measured by Statistics New Zealand.

The biggest increase was seen in fruit and vegetables, which increased by 23% compared with December 2021.

It was followed by grocery food prices and meat, poultry and fish prices, which both increased by 11% compared with the same time last year.

Restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food saw a smaller increase, rising by 7.8%.

Non-alcoholic beverages, meanwhile, increased by 7.3%.

Grocery food was the largest contributor to the movement, Stats NZ’s consumer prices manager James Mitchell said.

“Increasing prices for cheddar cheese, barn or cage-raised eggs, and potato chips were the largest drivers within grocery food,” he said.

The second-largest contributor was fruit and vegetables, with kiwifruit, potatoes and tomatoes having the most influence on its movement.

After adjusting for seasonal effects, monthly food prices rose 1.1% in December 2022 compared with the previous month.