New Zealanders spend more on bananas than any other fruit, statistics show.
Statistics New Zealand figures released today show that on average, households spend $88 a year on bananas, compared with $61 for apples and $26 for oranges.
This means that every New Zealander is getting through around 18kg of the fruit every year or roughly two bananas a week.
Statistics New Zealand has been tracking the cost of bananas since 1949, when the modern Consumer Price Index was first published.
"The quantity of bananas that Kiwis consume has been reasonably consistent over time but the price has fluctuated. In the last 30 years bananas have doubled in price. However, this compares favourably with the cost of food overall, which has tripled," prices manager Chris Pike said.
Since March 1983, banana prices have risen from $1.39 to about $2.80 a kilogram.
If bananas had increased at the same rate as overall food prices, shoppers would have paid $4.50 a kilogram in March this year.
New Zealand imports bananas from overseas so the price of the fruit is directly influenced by costs such as freight prices, foreign exchange rates, and overseas suppliers' prices.
Mr Pike said last year 71% of all banana imports to New Zealand came from the Philippines and 29% from Ecuador. This contrasts with 1990, when 99% of New Zealand's bananas came from Ecuador.
Looking across the Tasman, unlike New Zealand, Australia does not allow banana imports. Locally grown bananas are the only option for shoppers.
The reliance on homegrown bananas can make the price of the fruit more volatile. In 2006 and 2011, when cyclones destroyed many banana crops, the price quadrupled to over AU$12 a kilogram.