Overall, food prices remained steady (up 0.1 percent) in April. Higher prices for ready-to-eat and grocery foods were balanced by a drop for meat and many vegetables – except for tomatoes, which more than doubled in price in just two months.
Ready-to-eat food rose 0.7 percent in April, with prices rising for ethnic food (up 1.6 percent), takeaway coffee (up 0.7 percent), and takeaway pizza (up 1.0 percent).
“Prices for restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food usually increase steadily over time; however, these items all rose more than usual in April,” consumer prices manager Geraldine Duoba said. “The minimum wage increase of 75 cents to $16.50 an hour on 1 April may have been a factor, as labour costs make up a significant proportion of these businesses’ costs.”
Vegetable prices fell 1.6 percent in April. Lettuce, broccoli, and cauliflower all fell strongly, following high prices in March. After adjusting for seasonal movements, vegetables prices fell 5.1 percent.
“While vegetable prices fell in April, tomato prices continued to rise,” Duoba said. “Tomato prices rose 41 percent this month, following a more than 60 percent rise in March.”