Concern milk moving from a staple to a luxury

While supermarkets dispute a new report that found the price of milk rose again last month, Consumer New Zealand has simple advice: avoid expensive brands.

There are concerns a hike in milk prices is turning the basic necessity into a luxury. Source: 1 NEWS

"Look out for the house brands. It's the same cow, the same milk as the more heavily marketed and more expensive milks, so opt for the cheapest one you can find," says Sue Chetwin, Consumer NZ CEO.

The price of milk rose 3% last month, according to the latest Statistics New Zealand Food Price Index, raising concerns milk is now unaffordable.

That's despite New Zealand remaining the largest milk exporter in the world.

"It's become inaccessible and that means that children are being undernourished and really their health and wellbeing will be suffering," says Innes Asher, of the Child Poverty Action Group.

"Their bones won't grow so well, and their bodies won't grow so well, and they can end up being a bit undernourished and get infections."

But both of the country's biggest supermarket chains, Foodstuffs and Progressive, deny prices have gone up.

Countdown says its prices have not changed in six months, instead saying competition during September made it seem as if prices were lower.

In a statement, dairy giant Fonterra said while it doesn't set retail milk prices, it does expect milk to become cheaper over time because international commodity prices have come down.