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Produce up, soft drinks down as food prices inch upward

Food prices inched up 0.2 percent in December, with higher produce prices outpacing a drop in soft drinks and fruit juice.

Food prices inched up 0.2 percent in December, with higher produce prices outpacing a drop in soft drinks and fruit juice.

The food price index measures the rate of price change of food and food services purchased by households.

Statistics New Zealand said prices were higher for pumpkin due to a supply shortage (up 75 percent), potatoes, and apples (both up 14 percent) in December.

Strawberries recorded seasonally lower prices, down 21 percent for the month, but were up 25 percent on a year earlier.

Higher prices for fruit and vegetables (up 2.5 percent) and meat, poultry, and fish (up 1.2 percent) countered a fall in non-alcoholic beverages (down 2.5 percent).

The fall in non-alcoholic beverage prices resulted from lower prices for soft drinks (down 2.3 percent) and fruit juice (down 5.9 percent).

"Soft drink prices usually fall in December, with more discounting leading up to the Christmas break," Statistics NZ prices manager Chris Pike said.

Statistics NZsaid food prices increased 2.9 percent in the year to December, compared with 1.9 percent for the year to November.

Four of the five food subgroups experienced price increases: grocery food (up 3.5 percent), meat, poultry, and fish (up 3.7 percent), restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food (up 2.4 percent), and non-alcoholic beverages (up 4.4 percent). The fruit and vegetables subgroup decreased 0.9 percent.

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