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Friday, May 14

Food prices fall 0.5 percent in April

Food prices fell 0.5 percent in the April 2010 month, Statistics New Zealand said today, following a 0.2 percent rise in March and a 1.3 percent fall in February. Food prices have returned to levels last seen in late 2009, and are 3.1 percent below their mid-2009 peak.

In April 2010, the meat, poultry, and fish subgroup decreased 2.6 percent. This decrease was largely due to lower prices for beef (down 4.5 percent), fresh chicken (down 4.7 percent), and lamb chops (down 9.0 percent). All of these falls were influenced by discounting.

Fruit and vegetable prices decreased 1.7 percent in April 2010, with kiwifruit prices falling 36.4 percent. Kiwifruit prices usually fall in April as the new season's crop becomes available.

Other significant downward contributions came from lower prices for broccoli (down 15.1 percent) and potatoes (down 4.8 percent).

Lower prices for meat, poultry, and fish, and for fruit and vegetables were partly offset by higher prices for grocery food (up 0.7 percent).

For the year to April 2010, food prices rose 0.4 percent. Three subgroups recorded increases: grocery food (up 2.3 percent), restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food (up 1.9 percent), and non-alcoholic beverages (up 2.7 percent).

Prices fell for the fruit and vegetables subgroup (down 5.0 percent) and the meat, poultry, and fish subgroup (down 2.2 percent) in the year to April 2010. Annual falls for fruit and vegetable prices have now been recorded for nine consecutive months.

"Although food prices are now 0.4 percent higher than a year ago, they are 8.1 percent higher than two years ago," Statistics New Zealand's prices manager Chris Pike said.