A big lamb chop

Conversations | 31st January 2024 | By Matt Dalgleish

Quarterly Food Inflation Update - December 2023

The final consumer price index (CPI) data is out for 2023 and the December quarter shows a huge drop in retail lamb prices. Over the final quarter of 2023 Lamb CPI data registered a 12.1% drop in pricing at the retail level, the largest deflationary food item by a long way.

Poultry, Beef and the combined Meat & Seafood category showed some deflationary trends too with prices down by 1.4%, 1.5% and 1.2%, respectively. However, the Fish and Pork categories continued to display an inflationary trend during the December 2023 quarter of 2.4% and 3.3%, apiece.

Additional food categories to show some mild deflationary movement were Fruit & Vegetables, which saw prices drop a little over 1%, and Cheese, which was off by just 0.5% on the quarter. Meanwhile, the Eggs category saw the strongest price gains, with a 3.4% lift. The Alcohol and Coffee & Tea category recorded an inflationary trend too, up by 2.8% and 1.1% respectively.

Taking a look at the CPI change on an annual basis from 2022 to 2023 saw the Lamb category leading the deflationary charge with prices falling by 6.3% over the year. Beef, was the only other meat category to record price falls across the 2023 season of 2.3%. The vegetables category saw prices easing by 3.3%, but the Fruit category increased by 4.4% over the year. This somewhat cancelled each other out, so the combined Fruit & Vegetable category saw almost no price change over 2023.

Despite softer quarterly prices toward the end of 2023 the Cheese category was the most inflationary over the 2023 year with prices increasing by 14.2% on an annual basis. Eggs and Dairy categories were similarly inflationary with annual price gains noted in excess of 10%.


  • CPI
  • Inflation