Tuesday, June 25, 2024

New Zealanders budgeting for Christmas despite lower food prices

Around half of shoppers in New Zealand are still cutting back on non-essential items when they shop or choosing cheaper brands or house brands despite the fall in food prices, a new survey showed on Wednesday.

While 59 per cent of respondents in the October survey expected their financial circumstances to improve or stay the same in the next year, about 42 per cent thought they would spend less on Christmas food and groceries this year, compared to 32 per cent a year earlier, reports Xinhua news agency.

The survey of 1,500 shoppers was conducted by Foodstuffs NZ, a major grocery company that controls an estimated 53 per cent of the New Zealand grocery market.

Food prices in New Zealand in November were 6 per cent higher than a year ago, but fell for the third consecutive month, according to the statistics department Stats NZ on Wednesday.

The largest contribution to the annual growth was by grocery food, mainly driven by higher prices for fresh eggs, lollies, and peanuts, said Stats NZ.

The official rate of food price inflation is almost back to the rate in January 2022, half of what it was in June this year, said Foodstuffs NZ managing director Chris Quin.

“There’s no doubt inflation has made 2023 a challenging year for retailers and customers alike, but this month’s data is again encouraging, and we’re all hoping 2024 will provide some long overdue relief,” he said.

The rises in supplier costs have been easing. However, retailers are still facing inflationary headwinds in other areas of their business, Quin said, adding the company remains “very mindful” of the cost-of-living challenges facing many customers this holiday season.

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