Food Price Index shows a drop in the cost of fruit and vegetables as the fresh produce industry rebounds from challenging season

For the first time this year, New Zealand’s Food Price Index (FPI) has showed a drop in the cost of fruit and vegetables as the country’s growers recover from a tough spell of weather-related challenges.

New Zealand flag basket of fruit and vegetables Adobe

Image: Adobe Stock

United Fresh president Jerry Prendergast said the fall in prices for the month of May was not unexpected with plenty of fresh, seasonal produce harvested.

“The industry has worked hard to get our supply volumes back up after heavy rain disrupted the normal planting cycle across many parts of the North Island,” he explained. ”With May being one of the warmest months on record, this also contributed to producing a reasonable supply.

“The fruit and vegetable market has always fluctuated with supply and demand and this year has been no exception,” Prendergast outlined. Now that supply has improved, we’re seeing prices return to a ‘new normal’, higher than previous years but a decrease on the last few months.

”We’re certainly hoping the weather will play ball for the rest of the year.”

Shortages in some produce categories, such as sweet potato, have seen the FPI increase steeply in the last few months.

“It’s a huge relief to see good news for consumers,” he said. ”Budgets are tight, but choosing healthy options is so important for the wellbeing of the whole whānau.

“We’ve also been really pleased to see shoppers taking the opportunity to experiment with different types of fresh produce if their favourite is in short supply.,” Prendergast added. ”Hopefully many of the new recipes and flavour combinations they’ve tried will remain part of the regular family meal repertoire.”