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Food expenditure has increased: survey

According to a survey, four in 10 New Zealand households now spend more than $200 a week on food.

Research by Rabobank and the food relief organization KiwiHarvest shows significant changes in food buying and consumption behaviors.

The research, completed in the second quarter of the year, found that households were spending significantly more on food than last year, and the use of food delivery services continued to rise.

Diets were also changing, with fewer New Zealanders saying they were getting their ‘five plus’ fruits and vegetables a day and just under a third saying they were planning to reduce their meat intake.

In a statement, Rabobank’s head of corporate sustainability, Blake Holgate, said it was no surprise to see that household food spending had risen significantly from a year ago, food prices foodstuffs have increased sharply in recent months.

“At the top, the number of Kiwi households reporting spending more than $300 a week has fallen to 15% from 12% last year, while at the other end of the spectrum, the percentage of households spending less than $100 $ per week has fallen to just 11% from 14% previously.

“And with inflation also impacting the prices of most other goods and services, it’s no shock to see the survey identify the ‘cost of living’ as the No. Kiwis in 2022,” he said.

National and regional Covid-19 lockdowns likely played a role in the adoption of food apps, while convenience and the growing range of choices were other key factors.

The survey found HelloFresh to be the most used dining app, used by 33% of New Zealanders in the last 12 months (up from 31% previously).

Uber Eats was the second largest with 31% (unchanged), and My Food Bag came in third with 20% (up from 17%). The survey also found usage was up across several emerging foodservice brands, with Menulog (10% vs. 7% last year), Delivereasy (8% vs. 6% previously) and foodpanda (4% vs. 1%) the biggest winners.

Despite increased use of restaurant apps, the survey also found that New Zealanders were visiting their local supermarkets more regularly.

More and more people said that ‘add-on’ shopping has become part of their weekly food shopping routine.

Only 21% of respondents said their household relied solely on a main weekly store (compared to 24%), while most (70%) said they did a main grocery store and then “additional” purchases as needed .