The cost of fruit and vegetables helped bump up food prices by 0.7 per cent last month, Statistics New Zealand said today.

The slight increase in food prices follows a 0.1 per cent fall in August and a 1.6 per cent increase recorded during July. The fruit and vegetable subgroup rose 2.6 per cent, led by the soaring cost of broccoli, which rose 49.5 per cent, and lettuce which was up 13.5 per cent during the month.

“Vegetable prices were affected by unusually windy, wet, and cold September weather in different parts of the country,” Statistics New Zealand’s prices manager Chris Pike said.

The grocery food subgroup rose 1.2 per cent during September. The major contributors were snack foods (up 7.8 per cent), chocolate (up 4.6 per cent), and yoghurt (up 4.5 per cent), which were influenced by the removal of discounting in September.

The meat, poultry, and fish subgroup fell 1.0 per cent in September, with fresh chicken prices decreasing 7.6 per cent and lamb chop prices falling 6.3 per cent.

Food prices rose 1.3 per cent in the year to September, after four consecutive months of annual falls in food prices. In the year to September 2010, grocery food prices rose 2.6 per cent, fruit and vegetable prices rose 6.8 per cent, and restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices rose 1.5 per cent.

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