13 Mar 2013

Milk price up, fruit and vegetables fall

7:25 pm on 13 March 2013

The price of milk rose in February to its highest level since May last year but the latest figures from Statistics New Zealand show many other foods fell in price.

Milk rose by 2.1%, its biggest monthly rise since July 2010.

However, overall food costs fell by 0.3% compared with the previous month.

There were double figure declines in the prices of seasonal fruit and vegetables, with apples down by 13%, pumpkin 38% and grapes nearly 30%, although lettuce was up by 32%.

Meat, poultry and fish prices fell by 1.4%.

For the year to February, the food price index fell by 0.1%.

ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley says the drought helped drive down meat prices with farmers sending their stock to slaughter earlier, but fresh produce also declined.

"Food prices are very volatile from one month to the next, we did see slight reduction in food prices over February and it was by and large reflecting a seasonal decline in fruit and vegetable prices."