Vegetable prices shoot up in July with lettuce leading the charge at 77 per cent

Vegetable prices shot up last month while fruit prices dipped, Statistics NZ revealed today.

Prices for vegetables rose 9.2 per cent last month, with lettuce up 77 per cent, tomatoes up 30 per cent and broccoli up by 24 per cent.

A 500 gram head of lettuce was $5.42 last month, compared with $3.07 in June and $3.30 in July 2017.

"Lettuce prices are now at their highest since the series began, and 2.5 per cent higher than their previous peak in May 2017," Statistics NZ consumer prices manager Geraldine Duoba said.

"July was particularly cold and wet in the North Island where a lot of our lettuce is grown."

After adjusting to seasonal effects, vegetable prices rose 3.6 per cent.

However, fruit prices saw a 7.9 per cent fall - partly due to the rising vegetable costs.

Seasonally cheaper avocados had the largest impact after going down 36 per cent, followed by nectarines and strawberries.

After adjusting for seasonal effects, fruit prices fell 2.2 per cent.

Meanwhile, restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food have been "largely consistent", increasing by 3.2 per cent in the year to July 2018 - the highest annual increase since September 2011.

Rows of leafy green lettuce, curly kale, romaine lettuce, and other varieties of lettuce and vegetables are displyed in cold case in grocery store produce section. Fresh green vegetables are available for sale to customers shopping for healthy food.
Lettuce on supermarket shelf (file picture). Source: