Although New Zealand food prices may have risen 0.5 percent overall in the year up to June, tomatoes are at record lows. Tomato prices decreased 17 percent, hitting their lowest price ever for a June month. The price of a 200-gram avocado also fell to $2.99 in June 2019, 31 percent cheaper than in June last year.
Overall prices were, however, bolstered by higher prices for restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food: Restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices climbed 3.4 percent in June from a year earlier, while meat, poultry and fish prices rose 2.8 percent and grocery food prices increased 1.8 percent.
Food prices fell 0.7 percent during the month, weighed by lower prices for cakes and biscuits, Stats NZ said. After seasonal adjustment the price change remained at 0.7 percent.
"A number of specials on biscuits sent June prices crumbling," consumer prices manager Gael Price said. Overall, June cake and biscuit prices fell 3.7 percent from May.
Fruit and vegetable prices fell 2.1 percent on the month and grocery food prices fell 0.7 percent. The food price index accounts for about a fifth of the consumers price index, which is one measure the Reserve Bank uses to pursue its inflation target when setting interest rates.
Rates are currently at a record low 1.50 percent and investors are currently expecting two more 25 basis point rate cuts over the next few months given that annual inflation remains a tepid 1.5 percent. Separately, Stats NZ's new measure of rental price inflation remained steady in June.