Food price inflation unchanged in March 2021

Overall, the cost of food in March 2021 was the same as in February 2021, Stats NZ said today.

Even though the overall food price movement was flat, there were many price movements. Prices for 53 percent of items rose and 47 percent fell, but the net effect of this was no overall movement.

There were typical seasonal movements in fruit and vegetable prices, with cucumbers up 51 percent and apples down 16 percent.

“Apple prices tend to fall in March, but this year they have fallen less than last year when they fell 26 percent,” consumers prices manager Katrina Dewbery said.

“Apple prices were more expensive in March 2021 than the same time last year.”

Monthweighted average price
Mar-182.7
Apr-182.51
May-182.23
Jun-182.29
Jul-182.5
Aug-182.54
Sep-182.72
Oct-183.05
Nov-183.26
Dec-183.43
Jan-193.98
Feb-193.7
Mar-192.63
Apr-192.43
May-192.31
Jun-192.43
Jul-192.53
Aug-192.49
Sep-192.78
Oct-192.98
Nov-193.27
Dec-193.8
Jan-204.62
Feb-203.44
Mar-202.55
Apr-202.68
May-202.95
Jun-202.67
Jul-202.65
Aug-203.08
Sep-202.77
Oct-203.34
Nov-203.78
Dec-204.16
Jan-214.62
Feb-213.41
Mar-212.87

As well as seasonal movements, there was an 8.2 percent increase in banana prices.

Some supermarkets experienced a shortage of bananas in March due to a delayed shipment. The last time there was a banana shortage was November 2018, when banana prices increased by 17 percent.

Monthweighted average price
Mar-182.87
Apr-182.82
May-182.69
Jun-182.48
Jul-182.51
Aug-182.72
Sep-182.73
Oct-182.85
Nov-183.34
Dec-183.23
Jan-192.98
Feb-193.06
Mar-192.98
Apr-192.89
May-192.8
Jun-192.8
Jul-192.74
Aug-192.9
Sep-192.91
Oct-192.86
Nov-192.92
Dec-193.01
Jan-203
Feb-202.98
Mar-203.12
Apr-202.99
May-203.03
Jun-202.88
Jul-202.97
Aug-202.97
Sep-202.95
Oct-202.96
Nov-202.95
Dec-202.93
Jan-212.92
Feb-212.9
Mar-213.14

Smallest annual increase since June 2019

Annual food prices for March 2021 increased 0.5 percent compared with March 2020, the smallest annual increase since June 2019. This follows last month’s increase of 1.2 percent, which, at the time, was the smallest annual increase in over 18 months.

The 0.5 percent increase was driven by higher prices for restaurant meals and ready-to-eat-food, up 3.6 percent. This was driven by higher prices for lunch up 4.8 percent.

Meat poultry and fish prices decreased 3.0 percent, driven by falls in porterhouse and sirloin steak, down 10 percent.

More efficient and accurate method for collecting data

In March 2021 we incorporated more point-of-sale (checkout scanner) price data supplied directly from supermarkets. This expands the supermarket checkout-scanner data introduced in April 2020. We are now using this data for all major supermarkets in our sample. It accounts for approximately 60 percent of food prices and replaces all prices that would have been manually collected in store from these supermarkets.

/Stats NZ Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.