Statistics suggesting that grocery prices have increased 7- 20% over the last year do not reflect the reality, with many Kiwis reporting that their food bills have gone up by 50% — a scenario that could lead to deteriorating health conditions for New Zealanders.

Financial coach Shula Newland, who works with families across New Zealand wanting to get ahead, says she noted her grocery bill had gone up by 50%, but that many of her clients were spending a lot less on groceries.

This suggested they were either getting savvier with their grocery spend or cutting the amount and type of groceries they bought. A poll of more than 200 Kiwis confirmed that things are tougher than official statistics suggest.

“It is not a good time for failures like Supie because it reduces competition, and that does not help prices. It also illustrates that Kiwis need to think long-term about things like losing their jobs and what they have in place if that were to happen,” Newland says.

Forty-three per cent of those polled said their food bills were up from more or less $280 a week to over $400, a more than 40% increase, while 45% of those polled confirmed price increases of around 20%. Just 9% said that their food bills had not increased by much because they were really careful with their money. Three per cent said they have changed their habits and reduced spending.

“The lesson here is that people who prioritise healthy foods, fresh vegetables and prime meats because their health is important to them are likely the people experiencing a much higher rise in prices. What it also means is more people who can’t afford increasing costs will be buying cheap carbohydrate-rich foods, which contribute to obesity, diabetes and other health issues.”