Food price inflation has fallen from the 11-year highs it hit a month ago, but remains elevated - with an annual rate of 6.4% for the 12 months to April.
The reduction in the annual rate of food price inflation from 7.6% a month ago comes primarily from dropping out the figures from April 2021, when prices had a month-on-month 1.1% surge.
However, the dip in the annual rate of food price inflation is unlikely to ease concerns about the current cost of living problems.
During April the prices of ready to eat food and restaurant meals had their biggest rise for a decade.
Statistics New Zealand says food prices overall rose 0.1% in April.
Ready to eat food and restaurant prices surged 1.4% between March and April, which could be attributed to the rise in minimum wages.
Offsetting this rise was a 3.1% fall in the price of fruit and vegetables.
These were the main monthly price movements:
- fruit and vegetable prices fell 3.1% (down 3.2% after seasonal adjustment)
- meat, poultry, and fish prices fell 0.4%
- grocery food prices rose 0.6% (up 0.8% after seasonal adjustment)
- non-alcoholic beverage prices fell 0.8%
- restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices rose 1.4%
And these were the main annual price movements:
- grocery food prices increased 6.4%
- restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices increased 5.3%
- fruit and vegetable prices increased 9.4%
- meat, poultry, and fish prices increased 8.1%
- non-alcoholic beverage prices increased 2.8%
The Government's coming under increasing pressure to rein in the supermarket operators in the face of rising food costs for consumers.
The supermarket operators have recently responded by in some instances reducing prices of certain goods.
After annual food price inflation hit 7.6% in March - the highest level in 11 years - Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark then immediately put out a pro-active press release, obviously designed to head off public outcry, in which he said the Government was "committed to taking action to pave the way for additional players to enter the New Zealand grocery market in order to increase competition".
Referring to the recent Commerce Commission inquiry into the supermarket sector, Clark said then: “Given the importance of healthy levels of competition in our retail grocery sector I have not ruled out going further than the options that the Commission tabled in its final report.”
In that report the commission recommended a series of tweaks to the operation of the supermarket sector, but stopped well short of some of the tough measures it earlier contemplated.