Thursday, August 18, 2022

Less meat on plate as food prices bite

New Zealanders are spending more on food – and cutting back on meat – says a new survey.
The survey found usage of food-delivery services continues to rise, with several of these services recording strong growth over the past 12 months.

New Zealanders are spending more on food, getting it delivered more often and cutting down on meat, a new survey from Rabobank and KiwiHarvest has found.

The research — completed in quarter two this year — found fewer people are getting their “5+” of fruit and vegetables a day and just under a third say they plan to decrease meat consumption.

Rabobank head of sustainable business development Blake Holgate said the research – part of a wider study undertaken by agricultural banking specialist Rabobank and food rescue charity KiwiHarvest – found four in 10 Kiwi households now say they are spending more than $200 a week on food (up from 35% last year).

“With food prices rising strongly over recent months, it’s no surprise to see household food spend has increased markedly from a year ago,” said Holgate.

“At the top end, the number of Kiwi households saying they spend more than $300 per week jumped 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 dropped to just 11% from 14% previously.

“And with inflation also impacting prices for most other goods and services, it’s no shock to see the survey identifying ‘cost of living’ as the number one concern for Kiwis in 2022.”

Read: Kiwi diet for good health

The survey found usage of food-delivery services continues to rise, with several of these services recording strong growth over the past 12 months.

“This follows a strong jump in recorded usage of these apps in the 2021 survey, and food service brands such as HelloFresh, UberEats, My Food Bag and Menulog are all now well established in the New Zealand market,” Holgate said.

“National and regional covid-19 lockdowns are likely to have played a role in helping drive uptake of these services over recent years, while the convenience and growing range of choice offered by these services are further key factors.”


KiwiHarvest founder Deborah Manning says more work needs to be done to educate people on best before and use-by labels to reduce food waste.

The number of respondents saying they identified as vegan rose to 5%, from 2% in 2021, and the number of vegetarians also rose, climbing to 9% from 7% previously.

“In line with the increased number of New Zealanders favouring plant-based diets, we’ve also seen a continuation of the trend towards lower meat consumption in 2022. As with last year, there are many more Kiwis in the survey flagging a desire to eat less meat (29%), in comparison to those saying they plan to eat more (7%).”

Holgate said there were a number of factors driving change in New Zealanders’ diets, with the high cost of some food items now playing an increasingly significant role.

“Health reasons and a desire to reduce the impact on the environment were the two most significant drivers cited by those saying they were planning to reduce meat consumption. However, we’ve also seen the price of meat emerge as a further key factor, with this cited by 41% of Kiwis looking to eat less animal protein,” he said.

Also read: Era of cheap food may be over

KiwiHarvest founder Deborah Manning said the survey found understanding of food labelling such as Best before and Use by stickers was largely in line with 12 months ago.

“Increasing understanding of these labels is a key component of the educational work KiwiHarvest undertakes in the food waste space. However, it’s clear more needs to be done so that more people have a full grasp of what these labels mean,” she said.

“For both Best before and Use by labels, more than a third of Kiwis said they weren’t sure what they meant, or identified them incorrectly. And we need to keep working to reduce this proportion, as better understanding of these labels has the potential to make a substantial difference to the amount of food being wasted in households across Aotearoa.”

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