Media Release 13 Dec 2012
Family First NZ says that Statistics NZ may be claiming that food prices have decreased 0.6% in the past 12 months, but this is not the experience of families who are all feeling the pinch with increased prices for basic food products.
Family First has been measuring food prices over the past five years on a basic family shopping list. A weekly shopping basket for a family with a budget of between $150 and $240 per week was recorded at two different supermarkets in South Auckland in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and this year.
Over the past five years of measuring, shopping on a strict budget using the cheap option at both Foodtown and Pak’n’Save has still increased between 10% and 13% respectively, and shopping with the ability to choose dearer options has increased by up to 21% at one supermarket chain.
“While the wages and salaries of many families have experienced little to no increase due to the recession, essential and basic groceries for families have increased, and combined with increasing power prices, petrol prices, rates plus the GST-increase in 2010, families are finding it tough,” saysBob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“The shopping basket only included basic items necessary for a family with very few ‘treat’ foods. It doesn’t include any restaurant eating or takeaways but is simply a ‘survival’ budget for a busy family. This is not discretionary spending. It’s the basic spending that a family would need to do just to survive.”
“It comes as no surprise that families are struggling financially and that discretionary spending such as family trips, sports, and school expenses are being reduced. Desperate parents will be turning to food banks, looking to work longer hours, get extra jobs, and may even be turning to loan sharks. This will be increasing the stress of many families,” says Mr McCoskrie.
Family First NZ believes it is important that actual costs that families are experiencing are acknowledged in order to determine appropriate assistance packages for low-income families.