Meat prices drive increase in overall food prices

The price of meat has risen 2.8 per cent.

Rising meat prices drove food prices up in July 2019, Stats NZ says today.

Meat and poultry prices rose 2.8 per cent, with higher prices for chicken, lamb, and beef, partly offset by falling pork prices.

Chicken pieces were a big driver of the monthly price rise, up 7 per cent. The weighted average price in July was $8.61 per kilogram compared to June ($8.05 per kilo).

As well as being a big contributor to the monthly change, chicken pieces were up 8.8 per cent annually. In July 2018, the weighted average price for chicken pieces was $7.91 per kilogram.

Lamb chop prices reached an all-time high in July, up 1.7 per cent. The weighted average price was $17.70 per kilogram compared with $17.41 in June and $16.33 a year ago.

“Retail lamb prices rose in line with international commodity prices,” says consumer prices manager Sarah Johnson.

“There has been increased global demand for lamb and beef, following a shortage of pork in China due to African swine fever.”

Vegetable prices were another big driver of the rise in food prices, up 3.7 per cent for the month. However, vegetable prices decreased 17 per cent annually.

Tomatoes made the biggest contribution to the monthly movement, with a weighted average price of $6.59 per kilogram compared with $5.28 in June.

Tomato prices normally rise at this time of year, but they are still cheaper than this time last year. In July 2018, tomatoes were $8.18 per kilo.

Lettuce was the biggest downward contributor to the annual movement, down 52 per cent. The weighted average price for lettuce in July was $2.60 per 500-gram head, compared with the record high of $5.42 a year ago.

However, lettuce still had a seasonal price rise in the month up 30 per cent, from $1.99 per 500 grams in June 2019.

“Seasonal vegetables are still experiencing the usual price rise in July, although the increases are smaller than in the previous couple of years due to better weather conditions."

Overall, food prices rose 1.1 per cent in July 2019.

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