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Price of strawberries sweeter on the wallet

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Kiwis have been enjoying one of their favourite summer fruits, strawberries, at a much cheaper for the past month.

Stats NZ data shows strawberry prices fell 43 per cent in November as COVID-19 border restrictions reduced exports.

Soaring air freight costs since COVID-19 border closures has made exporting products more expensive, and a shortage of international workers in the fruit picking industry has meant that growers can’t pick their fields fast enough, meaning that many berries are too ripe for exporting.

“With less exports there is more supply available for domestic consumption, causing lower prices,” says consumer prices manager Katrina Dewbery.

Strawberry prices were an average price of $3.45 per 250g punnet in November, down from $6.04 in October.

“Prices are lower than we typically see for a November month with December generally being when they are cheapest. Some people may be seeing even cheaper prices during the first half of December.”

Overall, food prices fell 0.9 per cent in the month, mainly influenced by vegetable prices falling 9.9 per cent, partly offset by fruit prices rising 5.2 per cent, despite the drop in strawberry prices.

Tomato prices fell 51 per cent in the month to an average price of $3.99 per kilo, down from an all-time high of $13.65 in August this year.

 “Tomato prices have adjusted back down to a price we would expect to see for this time of year, slightly higher than the five-year average price for the November month of $3.74 per kilo.”

Mainly influencing the rise in fruit prices are higher prices for kiwifruit which are up 78 per cent, apples are up 13 per cent and oranges are up 34 per cent. These fruit prices typically become more expensive heading into summer as they go out of season.

Kiwifruit has risen to an average price of $7.11 per kilo, 86 cents more expensive than this time last year.

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