MIL OSI – Source: Statistics New Zealand – Food prices fall 0.7 percent in February In February 2015, food prices fell 0.7 percent, Statistics New Zealand said today. This follows a 1.3 percent rise in January and a 0.3 percent rise in December. “Lower prices for fruit, vegetables, and meat this month were partly countered by higher prices for sweets, energy drinks, and soft drinks,” prices manager Chris Pike said. In February, the fall in fruit and vegetable prices (down 2.4 percent) was influenced by seasonal price falls for both fruit (down 2.8 percent) and vegetables (down 2.1 percent). The main downward contributions came from apples and tomatoes, partly countered by higher prices for strawberries. Apple prices fell 23 percent from a peak in January, but are still 25 percent higher than a year earlier. New season apples arrived later than usual in January, and in smaller volumes, due to adverse weather conditions in spring. Lower prices for meat, poultry, and fish (down 1.6 percent) were influenced by lower prices for all types of meat, particularly lamb, beef, and chicken. Prices for beef and chicken peaked in January 2015 and December 2014 respectively. Grocery food prices fell 0.6 percent, with lower prices for snack foods, yoghurt, chocolate, and bread. These falls were partly countered by higher prices for sweets. The price of boxed chocolates (down 16 percent) falls every February, when Valentine’s Day occurs. Prices for non-alcoholic beverages rose 1.1 percent, reflecting less discounting on energy drinks, soft drinks, and packaged coffee.