Bananas most popular fruit for Kiwis


Bananas most popular fruit for Kiwis

Research undertaken by Statistics New Zealand reveals that New Zealanders spend more on bananas than any other fruit, getting through 18kg of them every year, or roughly two bananas a week.

Statistics New Zealand has been following the cost of bananas since 1949, when the modern consumers price index was first published. The figures show that, on average, households spend $88 a year on bananas, compared with $61 for apples and $26 for oranges.

“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 says.

Since March 1983, banana prices have risen from $1.39 to $2.80 a kilogram (30 years later). If bananas had increased at the same rate as overall food prices, shoppers would have paid $4.50 a kilogram in March 2013.

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.

“Most bananas eaten in New Zealand come from Ecuador and the Philippines. In 2012, 71 percent of all banana imports came from the Philippines and 29 percent from Ecuador. This contrasts with 1990, when 99 percent of New Zealand’s bananas came from Ecuador,” Mr Pike says.

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 home-grown 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.