As shopping trolleys are filled in preparation for Christmas dinner, get ready to pay a dollar or two more for those treats.
Statistics New Zealand estimates people will be paying only slightly more to feed a family of four than last year, but over the past decade, the cost has increased by an average of $1 per year.
Based on the November 2012 food price index, a barbecue dinner for a family of four including steak, chicken, salad, pavlova, and nibbles would cost an average of $64.74, or alternatively a traditional Christmas dinner of lamb, chicken, seasonal vegetables, pavlova, and nibbles for the same family would cost $67.31.
In 2002, the same barbecue dinner would have cost an average of $53.65, while the price for the traditional dinner would have been $54.60.
In the 10 years since Christmas 2002, the increase of around $11 for the barbecue Christmas dinner came mainly from price rises for porterhouse steak, salted peanuts, and sparkling wine. The traditional Christmas dinner increase of almost $13 came mainly from more expensive lamb and chicken.
“Food prices fluctuate over seasons and years. While the overall cost of Christmas dinner has increased in the past 10 years, the prices of some items, such as strawberries and capsicum, have actually decreased,” prices manager Chris Pike says.
As for who will cook the traditional Christmas dinner, that job is likely to fall to women. Results from Statistics NZ’s Time Use Survey show that, on average, women spend 1 hour and 2 minutes in the kitchen a day, while for men, time spent in the kitchen is 28 minutes.
For some people, though, Christmas dinner won’t be the first priority.
Based on figures from the past 10 years, on average 122 babies are born on 25 December and 27 couples get married.
“Most of us will be busy, but the person with the biggest job over the holidays will no doubt be Santa, who will have about 603,730 New Zealand children aged under 10 to visit on Christmas Eve,” Mr Pike says.