It’s not your imagination: food prices have gone up
If it has felt more expensive at the supermarket lately you’re right — it is.
In five years (2016-2021) the cost of buying eight basic supermarket items has increased between 20 and 30 percent across Gisborne’s three supermarkets and one Four Square.
SuperGrans Tairawhiti field coordinator Erina Torrey said she brought up rising food costs at a recent team meeting.
The feedback was that for some people, meat, fruit and vegetables became luxury items not essentials.
“A basket filled with $80 worth of groceries doesn’t buy much for a family,
“Families already living on the margins of society cannot cope with the rising costs of necessities such as food, accommodation and power.
“Wealth and income inequality is increasing with detrimental social impacts of poverty and social disadvantage.”
Ms Torrey said the SuperGrans Tairawhiti statistics showed an increase of clients asking for food/kai parcels.
In the first three months of this year 348 food parcels were delivered by SuperGrans to Tairawhiti families.
“Means a lot when kai is costly and you have a big whanau to feed,” was the comment left by one client.
The jump in food prices had to do with the rising cost of doing business in New Zealand, said Foodstuffs New Zealand head of corporate affairs Antoinette Laird.
Foodstuffs is the company that looks after the brands Pak’n Save and Four Square. Ms Laird said over the last four years fuel, electricity, wages, manufacturing and insurance costs had all gone up.
“And with continued global supply chain disruptions as a result of Covid-19, coupled with a new public holiday and sick leave increases on the horizon, it’s inevitable that at some point these costs will be passed on to consumers.
“We look for efficiencies at every level of our business to ensure these increases are kept to a minimum. Our focus is on offering quality and affordable groceries for every New Zealander, providing meaningful work for our teams, leading in sustainability and supporting our local communities,” she said.
Anyone wondering if their wages have had a matched increase would have to do their own calculations.
But the adult minimum wage in New Zealand did increase 31 percent between 2016 and 2021, up from $15.25 to $20 an hour.
This September, the living wage will rise to $22.75 an hour. That is up from $19.25 an hour in 2016, an increase of 18 percent.
The increase in the price of some eggs in the graph above is part of the move from caged chickens to free range chickens, which are more expensive, said SuperValue owner Natu Patel.
Countdown communications adviser Ally Orr said a lot of factors go into the price of food in New Zealand.
There was labour, transport, GST, seasonality, demand and raw materials.
“Historical price comparisons can be challenging given you have to take inflation into account, product specifications that might have changed, and global commodity price change.”
Ms Orr said for example the global milk price now was significantly higher than in 2016.
“Foreign exchange rates can change (which impacts imported goods), and general costs like labour may have changed.
“We know that price is incredibly important to our customers, and we’ll continue to
work hard to provide good value for our customers.
“Across our business the team works hard to make food as affordable as we can for Kiwis. We talk to our suppliers every day to try to get the best value and quality we can for our customers.”