Lettuce prices fell 45 percent in September 2018 to an average of $1.81 a head, according to new figures from Statistics New Zealand. They were down 30 percent for the year.
“Prices reached an all-time high of $5.42 for a 500g head of lettuce in July 2018 due to poor weather,” said consumer prices manager Geraldine Duoba. “Since then we’ve had two major price falls, which meant lettuce prices reached an unseasonably low level this September.”
At the same time last year, the price was about 80 cents a head higher.
Overall, food prices were almost unchanged in September 2018 (down 0.1 percent), but showed a slight rise after seasonal adjustment (up 0.3 percent).
Vegetable prices fell 8.7 percent in September, influenced by lower prices for lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers. In the year ended September 2018, food prices were also relatively unchanged (up 0.1 percent). This was driven by higher prices for ready-to-eat food (up 3.5 percent), and milk, cheese and eggs (up 2.2 percent). Prices decreased for vegetables (down 8.9 percent) and fruit (down 3.6 percent), which helped keep overall food inflation low for the year.
“After the poor weather and a reduced harvest in 2017, vegetable prices have returned to more typical levels for this time of year,” Duoba said.