Statistics New Zealand said today that prices rose 18 per cent in April to a weighted average price of $2.51 per kilo – an all-time high. Going into the winter months is typically the cheapest time to buy potatoes, with the Christmas period being the most expensive.
Some media reports suggest the potato industry has seen a 30–50 percent increase in demand from supermarkets and a shortage of workers.
“Higher demand and a shortage of potato pickers, many of whom stayed home due to fear of the COVID-19 virus, could explain this large price increase,” consumer prices manager Bryan Downes said.
Food prices increased 4.4 percent to the year ended April 2020, the largest annual movement in over eight years. This rise was influenced by higher prices for grocery food (up 4.2 percent), meat, poultry, and fish (up 6.2 percent), and non-alcoholic beverages (up 4.7 percent).
Potato prices increased 38 percent in the year, the largest contributor to the annual rise in food prices.
Also read Potatoes New Zealand’s response to this announcement here. The organization says the figures are skewed.