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Food prices up 1.4% in June, biggest monthly rise in a year

BUSINESSDESK: New Zealand food prices had their biggest gain in 12 months in June, reflecting higher seasonal prices for tomatoes and other fresh produce and the biggest recorded jump for chocolate.

The food price index rose 1.4% last month, the same increase recorded for June 2011, Statistics New Zealand says. Prices are down 0.2% from the same month last year.

Fruit and vegetables prices were up 9%, leading the increase last month, with tomatoes soaring 42%, avocados up 37%, nectarines gaining 51%, broccoli up 54% and lettuce gaining 17%.

Meat, poultry and fish climbed 1.3%, while grocery foods and restaurant meals both rose 0.3%.

Non-alcoholic beverages were the only group to record a decline in June, dropping 1.5%. Chocolate bars and blocks, part of the grocer group, rose 9.3%, the biggest increase since the series began in 1999.