Annual food prices see smallest increase in over five years

Food prices in New Zealand increased 0.2 percent in the 12 months to May 2024, the smallest increase since September 2018, according to figures released by Stats NZ today.

MonthAnnual percentage change
May-18-0.1
Jun-180.2
Jul-181.1
Aug-18-0.1
Sep-180.1
Oct-180.6
Nov-180.4
Dec-181
Jan-190.8
Feb-191.7
Mar-191.2
Apr-191
May-191.7
Jun-190.5
Jul-190.9
Aug-192.1
Sep-192.2
Oct-192.5
Nov-192.4
Dec-192.4
Jan-203.5
Feb-203.1
Mar-203.3
Apr-204.4
May-202.9
Jun-204.1
Jul-204.2
Aug-204.2
Sep-203.1
Oct-202.7
Nov-202.6
Dec-202.9
Jan-212.1
Feb-211.2
Mar-210.5
Apr-210.7
May-211.8
Jun-212.8
Jul-212.8
Aug-212.4
Sep-214
Oct-213.7
Nov-214
Dec-214.5
Jan-225.9
Feb-226.8
Mar-227.6
Apr-226.4
May-226.8
Jun-226.6
Jul-227.4
Aug-228.3
Sep-228.3
Oct-2210.1
Nov-2210.7
Dec-2211.3
Jan-2310.3
Feb-2312
Mar-2312.1
Apr-2312.5
May-2312.1
Jun-2312.5
Jul-239.6
Aug-238.9
Sep-238
Oct-236.3
Nov-236
Dec-234.8
Jan-244.2
Feb-242.1
Mar-240.7
Apr-240.8
May-240.2

The smaller annual food inflation (compared with the 0.8 percent annual increase in April 2024) was due to cheaper prices for fruit and vegetables (down 11.4 percent), as well as meat, poultry, and fish (down 1.2 percent), in the 12 months to May 2024.

“Prices for meat, poultry, and fish recorded an annual decrease for the first time in over three years,” consumer prices manager James Mitchell said.

“The decrease was driven by cheaper prices for lamb chops, legs of lamb, and chicken pieces.”

MonthAnnual percentage change
May-202.9
Jun-203.9
Jul-201.7
Aug-200.3
Sep-201.9
Oct-201
Nov-20-0.7
Dec-20-0.7
Jan-21-1.7
Feb-21-2.4
Mar-21-3
Apr-21-2.2
May-210.2
Jun-210.4
Jul-210.4
Aug-212.2
Sep-213.2
Oct-212.3
Nov-213.6
Dec-213.2
Jan-225.7
Feb-227.1
Mar-228.7
Apr-228.1
May-227
Jun-226.8
Jul-227.7
Aug-227.6
Sep-226.7
Oct-2210
Nov-2211.7
Dec-2211
Jan-239.2
Feb-239.8
Mar-237.8
Apr-239.5
May-2311.7
Jun-2311
Jul-239.3
Aug-238
Sep-236.9
Oct-233.3
Nov-232
Dec-232.3
Jan-241.4
Feb-240.2
Mar-240.2
Apr-240.2
May-24-1.2

All other broad food groups increased in price in the 12 months to May 2024. Price movements in order of their contribution, were:

  • restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices – increased 4.8 percent
  • grocery food prices – increased 1.3 percent
  • non-alcoholic beverage prices – increased 2.7 percent.

“Eating out and ordering in are still taking the cake when it comes to the overall annual increase,” Mitchell said.

Cheese prices at five-year lows

Despite overall food prices increasing in the 12 months to May 2024, the fall in cheese prices was the largest contributor of any individual food item. The price for a 1kg block of cheese was $10.02 per kilo in May 2024, down from $13.60 in May 2023.

“Of all the items in the food basket, cheaper cheese prices had the largest impact on overall food prices,” Mitchell said.

“Despite this, there was enough inflationary pressure from other items to record an overall food price increase.”

Month$ per kg
May-179.33
Jun-179.25
Jul-178.85
Aug-178.65
Sep-178.95
Oct-178.79
Nov-178.98
Dec-178.49
Jan-188.64
Feb-188.83
Mar-188.86
Apr-188.71
May-188.63
Jun-188.62
Jul-188.44
Aug-188.83
Sep-188.94
Oct-189.1
Nov-189.08
Dec-188.84
Jan-199.43
Feb-199.1
Mar-198.94
Apr-198.79
May-199.57
Jun-199.82
Jul-199.27
Aug-199.78
Sep-199.67
Oct-199.58
Nov-199.56
Dec-199.56
Jan-209.7
Feb-2010.32
Mar-2010.14
Apr-2010.25
May-2010.32
Jun-2010.72
Jul-2010.36
Aug-2010.67
Sep-2010.58
Oct-2010.48
Nov-2010.49
Dec-2010.73
Jan-2110.69
Feb-2110.77
Mar-2110.64
Apr-2110.41
May-2110.74
Jun-2110.97
Jul-2111.08
Aug-2111.11
Sep-2111.02
Oct-2111.02
Nov-2110.9
Dec-2111.05
Jan-2211.14
Feb-2212.23
Mar-2212.24
Apr-2212.31
May-2212.55
Jun-2211.88
Jul-2212.42
Aug-2212.62
Sep-2211.79
Oct-2212.59
Nov-2213.17
Dec-2214.44
Jan-2314.56
Feb-2314.13
Mar-2314.11
Apr-2313.49
May-2313.6
Jun-2313.78
Jul-2312.84
Aug-2312.58
Sep-2311.71
Oct-2310.64
Nov-2310.17
Dec-2310.12
Jan-2410.19
Feb-2410.06
Mar-2410.02
Apr-2410.01
May-2410.02

Food prices fall in May

New Zealand food prices fell 0.2 percent in May 2024 compared with April 2024, following a 0.6 percent increase the previous month.

Cheaper food prices were driven by lower prices for grocery foods, due to cheaper yoghurt and potato crisps.

Fruit and vegetable prices also fell for the fourth consecutive month, driven by lower prices for mandarins, potatoes, and apples.

“May 2024 saw the largest number of food items falling in price in over three years. Fifty-three percent of the items we track prices for fell in price during May 2024, compared with 44 percent of items, which were more expensive,” Mitchell said.

Petrol prices fall in May

Prices in New Zealand for both petrol and diesel were down in May 2024 compared with April 2024, falling 2.6 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively.

MonthIndex number
May-171029
Jun-171000
Jul-17976
Aug-171005
Sep-171031
Oct-171031
Nov-171074
Dec-171098
Jan-181099
Feb-181096
Mar-181087
Apr-181097
May-181131
Jun-181159
Jul-181172
Aug-181192
Sep-181220
Oct-181268
Nov-181189
Dec-181103
Jan-191087
Feb-191095
Mar-191128
Apr-191170
May-191186
Jun-191161
Jul-191159
Aug-191150
Sep-191172
Oct-191176
Nov-191173
Dec-191174
Jan-201178
Feb-201167
Mar-201084
Apr-201015
May-20991
Jun-201004
Jul-201033
Aug-201044
Sep-201040
Oct-201028
Nov-201024
Dec-201036
Jan-211065
Feb-211097
Mar-211131
Apr-211149
May-211162
Jun-211179
Jul-211223
Aug-211237
Sep-211248
Oct-211304
Nov-211350
Dec-211341
Jan-221369
Feb-221448
Mar-221522
Apr-221431
May-221557
Jun-221624
Jul-221593
Aug-221412
Sep-221416
Oct-221401
Nov-221398
Dec-221309
Jan-231320
Feb-231345
Mar-231334
Apr-231354
May-231295
Jun-231297
Jul-231448
Aug-231541
Sep-231609
Oct-231591
Nov-231548
Dec-231473
Jan-241451
Feb-241511
Mar-241529
Apr-241557
May-241517

“Motorists around the country enjoyed lower fuel prices in May, but they are still higher than May 2023,” Mitchell said.

“The removal of the transport temporary relief package partly contributed to the higher prices this year.”

Petrol prices are over 50 percent more expensive than four years ago, while diesel prices are over 80 percent more expensive.

/Stats NZ Public Release. View in full here.