• Open Access

Longitudinal study of Consumer Price Index (CPI) trends in core and non-core foods in Australia


Correspondence to:
Dr Cate Burns, WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention, Faculty of Health, Medicine, Nursing and Behavioural Sciences, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood Victoria 3125. Fax: (03) 9244 6640; e-mail: cate.burns@deakin.edu.au


Objective: This study examined trends in the price of healthy and less-healthy foods from 1989 to 2007 using the Australian Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Methods: CPI food expenditure classes were classified as ‘core’ or ‘non-core’. Trends in the CPI were analysed to examine the rise in prices of core compared with non-core foods.

Results: On average, the CPI for core foods has risen at a slightly higher, though not statistically significant, rate than non-core foods. Furthermore, selected groupings reveal interesting patterns. ‘Bread’ has risen in price significantly more than ‘cakes and biscuits’, and ‘milk’ has risen in price significantly more than ‘soft drinks, waters and juices’.

Conclusions and implications: This investigation of food price trends reveals notable differences between core and non-core foods. This should be investigated further to determine the extent to which this contributes to the higher prevalence of diet-related diseases in low socio-economic groups.