Cheaper fruit and vegetables, especially apples and tomatoes, helped lower overall food prices by 1.3% in March.
Statistics NZ figures just out show the fall in March came after a small drop in February but a near 2% lift in January.
Overall, food prices in March were down 0.4% on March last year.
"Apple prices were down a third and tomatoes, at $2.76 a kilo, were the cheapest in more than four years." Statistics NZ prices manager Chris Pike said.
Price falls for apples (down 33%), tomatoes (down 28%), and kumara (down 19%) had most influence. Apple prices often fall in February and March from an early summer peak. These price falls were partly countered by higher banana prices (up 9.8%).
Grocery food prices also fell (down 0.8%), influenced by chocolate bars and blocks (down 11%, due to more discounting). Boxed chocolates rose 19% after a 21% fall in February. The price of boxed chocolates falls every February, when Valentine's Day occurs.
Increased discounting on ham (down 12%) and a price fall for lamb (down 11%) resulted in a 0.9% price fall for the meat, poultry, and fish group.