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Price of milk hits 19-month low in December

Farmers are facing difficult times, but consumers are benefiting from milk prices dropping to a 19-month low.

The average two-litre bottle of standard dark blue top dropped to $3.49 last month, according to Statistics NZ.

"Supermarket milk prices are highly influenced by the farmgate milk price," Statistics New Zealand consumer prices manager Caroline White said. "Fonterra’s forecast milk payout was cut multiple times from May last year."

Farmgate milk price is the price farmers receive from processors for the milk they produce.

"While dairy farmers face tougher times, consumers usually benefit from the lower prices when supermarkets pay less to the suppliers," she said.

However, yoghurt prices rose 14 per cent and cheese prices rose 4.6 per cent. The price of butter also rose to 2.4 per cent, the report said.

As well, those with plans for a clean, green diet as their New Year's resolution would have been in for a shock as lettuce and broccoli prices soared over the holidays.

Broccoli prices more than doubled in price last month, and lettuce prices rose almost 80 per cent, the report said.

The average price of a 350g head of broccoli was $2.76 in January, after jumping from seven-year-low of $1.25 the month before.

"A bumper December harvest contributed to particularly low broccoli prices in December," Ms White said. "As the harvest returned to normal levels in January, we saw a larger than usual price rise."

The price of a 500g head of lettuce increased from $1.04 in December to $1.86 last month. The January price tag was more than 50c more than the same time last year.

However, avocado lovers enjoyed a price drop. The price of a 200g avocado fell 43 per cent to $1.58 in January compared to the previous year. Prices of the fruit were particularly high early last year because of the small harvest.

Source: istock.com