4 Mar 2009

New Zealanders buying cheaper food and less of it

9:10 pm on 4 March 2009

The company that dominates the eftpos market in New Zealand says people are focusing their spending on food and cutting back on other items as the recession bites.

People are buying slightly less food overall, cheaper food, and purchasing it in smaller quantities.

Paymark says supermarket shopping rose by 6.6% in value in February, compared with a year earlier. But this happened at a time when food prices rose 9.5%.

The company says people often bought budget goods in preference to named brands, and made smaller purchases on their debit cards each time compared with a year earlier.

The figures also showed a big fall in spending on restaurants and cafes, furniture appliances and travel.

Paymark says on average, people's spending rose 1.9% compared with a year earlier, substantially less than New Zealand's 3.4% inflation.