The Front Page: When will food prices finally start to come down again?
The cost of a weekly shop has become a large burden. Photo / 123RF The annual inflation rate cooled to 6 per cent in the June quarter, from 6.7 per cent in the previous quarter. This shows things are trending in the right direction, but those numbers still make things uncomfortable for both the Reserve Bank and shoppers. The leading cause of the high rate of inflation in the latest figures was the continued rise in food prices, despite the Government recently shining a spotlight on the staggering profits made by the supermarket duopoly. So, is there any chance of food prices dropping back to more sustainable levels in the near future? NZ Herald Wellington business editor Jenee Tibshraeny tells The Front Page podcast this will largely depend on the products youre buying. Fruits and vegetables, for instance, are affected by weather events; so, provided that we do have a period of less extreme weather, those prices may come down. But this wont apply to every product on the supermarket shelves. Generally, prices dont come down, says Tibshraeny. The best-case scenario is that prices increase but at a slower rate. So the hope is that they start increasing at only 3 per cent a year. That would be deemed a success by the Reserve Bank. So Im not holding my breath when it comes to food. Tibshraeny adds that when you consider the uncertainty posed by climate change, there are other factors which could also influence the price of food in the coming years. The increased frequency of severe weather events and changing weather patterns will no doubt affect food supply and prices. The painful experience of paying for a weekly grocery shop comes at a time when the nations supermarkets are under increased scrutiny over the prices they charge. In May last year, the Commerce Commission released a report into supermarkets which informed a raft of changes that have since come into effect. Among these was the appointment of Pierre Van Heerden as the countrys first supermarket commissioner, a role designed to ensure supermarket firms are fulfilling their obligations. Listen to the full episode of The Front Page to hear more from Tibshraeny to hear more on the high cost of eating in New Zealand. The Front Page is a daily news podcast from the New Zealand Herald , available to listen to every weekday from 5am. It is presented by Damien Venuto, an Auckland-based journalist with a background in business reporting who joined the Herald in 2017. You can follow the podcast at iHeartRadio , Apple Podcasts , Spotify , or wherever you get your podcasts. NZ Aerospace Summit in Christchurch hit by protest - which promises escalation tomorrow.