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New Zealand: Countdown expects price of seasonal produce to drop

New Zealand food prices have risen at their fastest annual rate in 32 years, with fruit and vegetables increasing by 23 percent year-on-year. However, according to Countdown supermarket commercial director Pieter De Wet, growers were now delivering more seasonal products. This means that customers could expect to pay less at the checkout when more produce was available next month, he said.

The constant rain in August last year meant that planting was delayed and consistent rain throughout January, as well as lower sunshine hours, has impacted harvesting schedules. New Zealand grown watermelons had recently come into season, but wet weather meant much of the crops did not make it.

LeaderBrand executive Richard Burke said growers were feeling the pinch of inflation as well: "We know that watermelon is quintessentially summer on a plate and beloved by Kiwis' both young and old. So, the pressure to grow the sweetest and juiciest melons has been keeping me up at night."

Supermarket giant Foodstuffs also said it was working to put a lid on inflation. In December, the average cost increase from suppliers to the Foodstuffs co-operatives on the same products measured in the Food Price Index (FPI) basket was 12.2 percent.


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