13 Dec 2017

Pumpkin and kumara prices skyrocket

12:48 pm on 13 December 2017

The price of food has fallen for the third successive month, as supplies of summer fruit picked up.

Pumpkin / Stock photo

Pumpkin hit record highs. Photo: firina/123RF

Official figures show food prices fell 0.4 percent in November compared to the previous month, led by declines in fruit and vegetables.

With summer approaching tomatoes and strawberries tumbled, with the average price for tomatoes down 44 percent to $4.32 a kilo.

"Although tomato prices dropped considerably this month, they're still at a much higher level than in November 2016 after seeing an annual increase of 27 percent," Stats NZ consumer prices manager Matthew Haigh said.

But the wet weather earlier in the year is still affecting the supply of some crops.

Pumpkin and kumara, which are typically more expensive in November, hit record highs.

Kumara prices hit $8.99 a kilo, nearly double a year ago.

"Pumpkin prices have reflected lower supply, with dramatic price increases in the last three months, while kumara prices increased more steadily through the year," Mr Haigh said.

And butter continued to break all-time highs.

The average price of the cheapest available 500 gram block stood at $5.74 last month, up from $5.67 in October 2017 and $3.88 in November 2016.

On an annual basis, food costs rose 2.3 percent as vegetable and fruit were higher than a year ago, while biscuits, cakes, and hot drinks were also more expensive.

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