A surge in fruit and vegetable prices has driven the largest monthly rise in food costs in nearly three years.

Official numbers showed prices rising 2.1 percent in January on the month before.

Stats NZ said much higher costs for strawberries and apples and a range of meat and grocery items were the main drivers.

It said that reflected the usual pattern of prices rising after the Christmas holidays.

Food costs for the year ended January rose 3.5 percent on the year before, the biggest annual rise in eight years.

Food prices make up about 20 percent of consumer inflation.

This article was originally published on RNZ and re-published with permission.

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