Restaurant meals, takeaways drive up food prices

The increase has been driven by a 3.3 percent rise in restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices, as well as a rise in meat. Takeaway pizza, for example, rose by 5.8 percent.

Meat, poultry and fish prices continued the trend of rising, driven by high export prices. The average price of lamb chops, blade steak and bacon all were at record highs in September.

Stats NZ's consumer prices manager, Sarah Johnson, says rising export prices on the back of strong overseas demand for New Zealand meat has put upward pressure on the prices Kiwi consumers pay in store.

The price of carrots was at the lowest in seven years. A kilogram of carrots now costs around $1.79 - prices not seen since April 2012.

"Carrot prices are typically down at this time of the year, but prices were even lower in September than they have been for some time," Johnson said.

Prices for vegetables were the only item that did not rise from last year - they were down 1 percent.

But the price index, released by Stats NZ, showed there had been no change in overall prices from last month.

While fruit and vegetable prices experienced a slight decrease, this was offset by rises in grocery foods, non-alcoholic beverages, and restaurant meals.

Vegetables like capsicums, tomatoes, and cucumbers all fell since August by 33 percent, 7.4 percent, and 14 percent respectively.

"Capsicum and cucumber prices typically see large falls in September, while tomato prices become cheaper as summer approaches.

"Fruit and vegetable prices typically fall in September as the warmer weather arrives and more stock begins to hit the shelves," Johnson said.

This article was originally published on RNZ and re-published with permission.

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