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Food Cost Survey

Annual estimates of weekly individual food costs

Each year the Department of Human Nutrition (previously Home Science Extension with the School of Home Science) at the University of Otago completes a Food Cost Survey. The Food Cost Survey is based on a basket of food designed to meet dietary needs of men, women, adolescents and children. In recent years food costs have been reported for five cities in New Zealand: Dunedin, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Hamilton. However, from 2016 onwards, Hamilton will no longer be included in the survey.

Supermarket food cost data is collected by Student Dietitians in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin on the first Monday in March each year. A standard protocol is followed (see Information Package).

Most healthy families or individuals will meet their nutritional needs when spending the amount of money specified for the basic costs. However, spending less than this amount increases the risk of not getting all the necessary nutrients. Many people will not lack energy or nutrients when spending less than this amount on food if they make careful management choices. However, the chances of consuming an inadequate diet increase as the amount spent to purchase food falls below the basic costs.

Please download the FREE Information Package for Users of the New Zealand Estimated Food Costs 2019 available from the OUR Archive.
This document describes how we collected and analysed food costs, as well as our survey results!

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Dr Claire Smith.