Data tracking by Deakin University’s Global Centre for Preventive Health and Nutrition (GLOBE) in the Institute for Health Transformation (IHT) has found that many food prices have risen again, continuing the annual increases observed since 2020.

GLOBE post-doctoral research fellow Dr Christina Zorbas said consumers would feel the pinch this year, especially when shopping for pantry staples such as potatoes, frozen vegetables, milk, and cheese.

“For traditional Christmas fare such as ham and seafood, prices are a bit cheaper than last year, but these items are still on the expensive end compared to other staples,” Dr Zorbas said.

“In comparison, it is worrying that the price of chicken has continued to rise from $3.55/kg in 2020 to $5.50/kg in 2023.

“The good news is that some fresh fruit and vegetables are cheaper than they were last year. We have seen price drops on items such as strawberries, cherries, peaches, apricots, lettuce, cucumber, avocado and zucchini.

“But other summer fruits like mangoes, pineapples and grapes are more expensive compared to this time last year.

“The table below shows that basic food prices are continuing to fluctuate.”

Dr Zorbas said some reasons for the price increases could be explained by high fuel prices, weather events and labour shortages but lack of transparency made it difficult to understand the core reasons, especially with supermarkets continuing to make sizeable profits.

“We commend recent support for a select Senate inquiry into food prices spearheaded by the Greens,” Dr Zorbas said.

“This should go a long way towards understanding the pricing practices and concentrated power of the major supermarkets.

“We also welcome the recent report from the Federal Government’s Inquiry into Food Insecurity which calls for a National Food Plan and policies to ensure fair food prices and the affordability of food across the supply chain.

“In the meantime, to beat the price rises this Christmas people should try to pre-plan their grocery shop, look for food that is in season and cheaper and be wary of all the marketing designed to push us towards buying unnecessary items during the festive season.”