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Costs of Living - Local Food Prices

According to Food Price Index data (February 2022) Tauranga was found, on average, to have the most expensive grocery prices nationally. As food prices continue to rise, Community Insights has been keeping a watchful eye on grocery prices each month in the Western Bay of Plenty through a virtual trolley of standard family items.

In June 2023, to launch the project, it physically purchased grocery items and donated the groceries to Tauranga Community Foodbank after the trolley was presented at a local Child Poverty Action Group post Budget discussion. Funding for this project is possible thanks to funding from BayTrust. 

The shop was based on pricing for food items from the basic diet for two adults and two children used in the Food Cost Survey developed by the Department of Human Nutrition, University of Otago plus some additional everyday items we believe are necessary to be included in a basic shop for a family of four. The additional items were agreed on following discussions with Tauranga Community Foodbank, Tauranga Budget Advisory Services and the main shopper of a two adult and two child family. 

The initial trolley load of groceries, from Pak‘nSave Cameron Road, included wheat biscuits, rice snaps , cornflakes, rolled oats, fresh and frozen fish, fruit in season, cheese, eggs, yoghurt, luncheon, milk, rice, white sandwich and toast bread, noodles, pasta, margarine, canned spaghetti, canned tomatoes, mince, sausages and chicken, in-season veges. The initial shop cost was $151.61 at the beginning of May and $148.68 4 weeks later. This price excludes some Pantry Staples and Toiletry items which are recorded as being shopped for less frequently than weekly. 

Following on from the initial grocery shops, Community Insights, will continue to record the cost of grocery items each month, pricing online the same items each month at the same local supermarkets and will later on this year publish its findings through a Cost of Living Dashboard. 

There has been a lot of commentary about the increased cost of living facing our communities over the last year. Community Insights work documenting local food prices will be part of a bigger suite of work analysing the impacts of these rising costs on community wellbeing. 

By Liz Flaherty, CI Manager