Thursday, June 12, 2008

Food prices soar in New Zealand

Today's announcement by Statistics New Zealand that food prices leapt another 1 percent in May, driving the Food Price Index (FPI) up 6.8 percent in the year to May, led to more ritual hand-wringing on the evening's television news show. And as New Zealand is a big producer of dairy products, much of the debate was about the high price of milk. Perhaps that should read "prices", as not all supermarkets and dairies (corner stores) charge the same amount per liter.

During the course of the year, fresh milk prices rose 21.5 percent, cheddar cheese prices 59.4 percent, and butter prices 80.1 percent. A two-litre plastic bottle of milk, bought from the supermarket today, cost us $4.26. When we came to New Zealand in 1972, we bought milk by the pint and paid the princely sum of 4c per pint (in a glass bottle) delivered to our gate by the milkman.

Remember the clink, clink of the bottles in the crate?

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