This is the biggest annual increase since September 2011, when annual food prices increased 4.7 percent, Stats NZ said.
The main contributor to this increase was higher prices for tomatoes, it said, adding tomatoes nearly doubled in price between December 2020 and December 2021, increasing 99 percent.
The weighted average price of 1kg of tomatoes increased from 3.33 New Zealand dollars (2.25 U.S. dollars) in December 2020 to 6.61 New Zealand dollars (4.47 U.S. dollars) in December 2021, consumer prices manager Katrina Dewbery said in a statement.
Higher prices for tomatoes were partly offset by cheaper prices for kiwifruit, kumara, and avocados, Dewbery said.
At a more aggregated level, grocery foods had the biggest impact on the annual food prices movement, increasing 4.5 percent. Within this, yoghurt, standard two-liter milk, and fresh eggs were the main contributors, she said.
Overall food prices rose 0.6 percent last month. This shows that food prices increased by more than they usually do in December, Dewbery said.