16 Apr 2018

Vegetable price spike blamed on wild weather

6:28 pm on 16 April 2018

A month of wild weather has seen vegetable prices spike with cauliflower and tomatoes leading the way.


file photo Photo: 123RF

Cauliflower nearly doubled in price to $8.35kg, while tomatoes rose more than 60 percent from February, up to $4.65kg.

But Tomatoes New Zealand general manager Helen Barnes said she expected winter supply to level prices out.

"This summer in particular was very unusual that's why we have seen that slight spike in prices last month," she said.

"It's really come right now so what I think you will see over the next month, in the next food price index, the prices will became as normal."

It had been a difficult season for growers with high humidity and low light causing fruit not to ripen, and even affecting pollination of flowers, she said.

Stats NZ consumer prices manager Matthew Haigh said the weather over spring would determine winter prices for vegetables.

"Some of the prices will continue to level out as we move into winter and new season produce comes online, but what we have found over the past couple of years is that more variable has been throwing around those seasonal patterns," he said.

"Last year we had a number of storms as well starting from this period that devastated the kumara crop and then potatoes were affected rotting in the ground. And now we have seen brassicas getting hit.

"It has been a common factor in the past couple of years."

Lettuce prices were up 20 percent last month at just under $3 a head, while cabbages were sitting at close to $3.20kg, a 50 percent increase, and broccoli was up by $1 at $8.35kg.

It was not all bad news though as some foods, such as chicken, pork and wheat-based products, dropped in price, Mr Haigh said.

Overall the price of food rose by 1 percent in March, largely due to the lift in vegetable prices, though meat also rose by 1.2 percent.