Egg prices crack $4.43 a dozen
The price of eggs reached a record high of $4.43 a dozen in April 2019, after rising for the past nine months, says Stats NZ.
A national egg shortage may be one of the reasons for the rise in retail egg prices. Industry reports suggest that farmers are switching away from caged hens to more expensive free-range egg production, meaning that egg supply is down as hen flock sizes are reduced.
As a result, the weighted average price of both caged and barn eggs increased to $4.43 a dozen in April 2019, up from $3.89 a dozen in April 2018.
“A decade ago, a single egg cost 28 cents, and in April this year it reached 37 cents an egg,” says consumer prices manager Gael Price.
The prices for both chocolate and ice cream also hit new peaks in April.
A 250g block of chocolate in supermarkets cost an average of $4.57 in April 2019, 11 per cent higher than in March 2019.
“We saw the size of some chocolate blocks were cut since February, while retail prices did not fall by as much.
“Average prices moved again in April when another larger chocolate-maker lifted prices, rather than cutting the weight of its bars.”
The average price for a 2-litre tub of ice cream reached a record high of $6.36 in April 2019, up from $6.11 in March 2019, and $5.54 in April 2018.
Restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food rose 0.9 per cent in April 2019 and increased 3.2 percent in the year to April 2019. These rises coincided with a $1.20 an hour increase in the minimum wage from 1 April 2019.
“Prices for restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food usually increase steadily over time. However, April saw the biggest monthly rise since October 2010."
Seasonal falls in fresh fruit and vegetables result in overall fall in monthly food prices
Overall food prices fell 0.1 per cent in April 2019. Vegetable prices fell 2.6 per cent and fruit prices fell 2.1 per cent, offsetting the price rises for ready-to-eat food, milk, cheese, and eggs.
Kiwifruit had a seasonal fall in price in April, down 18 percent, and apple prices fell 7.9 per cent.
Lettuce prices fell 6.7 per cent in April and broccoli prices fell 12 per cent. The average price of a 350g head of broccoli was $2.08 in April, down from $2.36 in March and $2.18 a year ago.