Food prices

January 17th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reported:

fell for a fourth month straight in December, led by a drop in non-alcoholic beverages which offset higher meat, poultry and fish prices.

The Food Price Index fell 0.2 per cent in the month, according to Statistics New Zealand following a 0.8 per cent decline in November. The current level of 1243 marks the lowest point on the index in almost two years.

I’ve calculated annual food price since the series began in 1960, below.

foodinflation

 

So in one year, food prices increased 25%. I guess there was lots of money being printed that year.

If we look at post 1990 only:

foodprices90s

 

So three big spikes post 1990. One was in 2001, another in 2008 and the third in 2011. The latter one being impacted by the GST increase.

If you look at food inflation over each three year approx electoral term, the cumulative annual increases were:

  • 1991 – 1993: -0.1% (go Ruth)
  • 1994 – 1996: 4.3%
  • 1997 – 1999: 4.2%
  • 2000 – 2002: 11.1%
  • 2003 – 2005: 2.7%
  • 2006 – 2008: 18.4%
  • 2009 – 2011: 6.6%

Annual food inflation in 2012 is -0.9% so far. Useful to recall this when you see stories about the rising cost of food!

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17 Responses to “Food prices”

  1. Andrei (2,644 comments) says:

    There’s lies, damn lies and statistics and here of course is a case in point – the food you need to sustain life has gone up markedly particularly meat, poultry and fish but also grain based products, while things like non alcoholic beverages and stuffed olives are cheaper which given the way the index is calculated give the result (this is sort of in the story) but for those struggling to feed their families on a fixed income the struggle has increased while the Governments cheerleaders proclaim their prowess in making the world a better place.

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  2. anonymouse (715 comments) says:

    Your 25% food price spike coincides nicely with the 1979 oil shock, which I suspect sent the price of anything that required moving or fuel to harvest up hugely…..

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  3. pq (728 comments) says:

    the world has changed, it costs me $NZ 250 to feed myself and wife and sometimes others,
    you know Spaniards they arrive at your door, and what can you say, I can not say
    I will not feed you my friend Catalonia

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  4. Manolo (13,754 comments) says:

    The spin will make any government supporter dizzy but proud.

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  5. pq (728 comments) says:

    diizzy give facts ,

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  6. Carlos (683 comments) says:

    I’ve recently built and planted raised beds and planter boxes in my very small yard. I have been growing lots of organic Red Russian kale, Bright lights silverbeet, beetroot, tomatoes, rock melon, Lebanese cucumbers, parsley, dill, fennel, mizuna, purple carrots, chives, rhubarb, celery, corriander, lemon balm, marjoram, oregano, rocket and lettuce.

    It’s my first thing growing anything since I was a kid. I love it. No sprays or chemical fertilisers. Just compost and rock dust to keep the soil producing nutritious, organic crops. I mostly just go out there and pick some of it and juice it and drink it with an apple added to sweeten it up. Next year I’m going to put wires along the fence and grow even more. :) Now when I go grocery shopping, I hardly ever need to buy vegetables.

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  7. Manolo (13,754 comments) says:

    Carlos, are you sure yours is not Maori land?
    Be careful, your produce could be subject to a Treaty claim or confiscated. :D

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  8. KevinH (1,227 comments) says:

    Has anyone noticed that although the prices for grocery items has not increased dramatically, the content quantity of the goods has however decreased. For instance instant coffee comes in 80 gram sachets instead of 100 grams and also chocolate bars have shrunk by the same amount.
    Sure the prices haven’t increased but you get less for your money than previously.

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  9. RRM (9,917 comments) says:

    Marrying a vegetarian who can cook has been a good move for RRM. :-)

    I feel a lot healthier, the food is tastier, and the ingredients of an average meal are far less expensive!

    (I still find ways of sneaking the occasional steak or lamb chops in though… )

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  10. Manolo (13,754 comments) says:

    You’re almost there, RRM.
    You have the lefty credentials, so it should be easy to apply for Green Party membership and your life will be complete.

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  11. Nick K (1,243 comments) says:

    If you look since the peak of 1986, food prices have fallen since then. Thank you Roger Douglas.

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  12. lofty (1,310 comments) says:

    You can make statistics say whatever you like eg:

    Statistically 6 out the 7 dwarves aren’t Happy.

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  13. s.russell (1,642 comments) says:

    KevinH,
    I think you’ll find the the statisticians are not stupid, and allow for this.

    Also, I suspect that the big driver of recent spikes have been international commodity prices, something that is a) largely beyond NZ control, and b) good, because as a net food producer this increases national income.

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  14. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    Your two graphs are identical. Is this some sort of fractal?

    [DPF: Ta, fixed]

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  15. Prince (105 comments) says:

    Must be so discouraging for whingers when the facts don’t match their whining. Dept of Stats don’t base their figures on ‘a packet of coffee’ – they use an actual volume. But hey, better to go with the conspiracy figure and ignore the facts.

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  16. mara (784 comments) says:

    Does that fat woman Tariana Turia, who, thanks to the NZ taxpayer, could afford to pay for a belly tuck, realise that many more of her mokopuna are now hungrier because the price of fags has now skyrocketed and there is less cash to feed these kids? This moral crusade of hers, aided and abetted by John Key for political convenience, is making me puke. She should lower herself and go to a Mall in south Auckland to see what her whanau are now spending on their kids, after taking the cost of smokes into account.

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  17. salt (133 comments) says:

    I’d say the most important thing is the cost of vegetables, fruit, fish, and good quality meat. All of those (except lamb, which is a luxury product*, really) have consistently risen for a number of years. TBH the fact that coke, white bread, and other processed grain-based foods have dropped in price isn’t exactly a good thing for society.

    *I mean, I’m as happy as anyone here that lamb racks are falling in price, but I doubt that makes much difference to people trying to feed a young family on a budget.

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