The Government has been urged to tackle the retail food industry in order to get on top of the cost of living crisis.

In February, Stats NZ revealed food prices had risen by 6.8% for the year, the largest annual increase in a decade.

NZME head of business Fran O’Sullivan told Q+A that on top of other inflationary impacts like energy costs and supply chain crunches, the supermarket sector is also driving costs up.

“I think we need to see more push out of the Commerce Commission to ensure that we do get more competition, particularly at the supermarkets but not just there,” O’Sullivan said.

Te Pāti Māori have launched a petition pushing for GST removed from all food.Te Pāti Māori have launched a petition pushing for GST removed from all food. (Source: 1News)

“This is a nation full of duopolies, and in some cases monopolies, and that needs to be busted quite frankly.”

The Commerce Commission recently released a market study on the supermarket sector, but the Government has not as yet responded with any major new legislation.

Academic and community worker Emmaline Pickering-Martin said food was often “the first thing to go” for families on tight budgets.

“We have lots of whānau that are not eating, not eating appropriately, and accessing food banks and the like, so it’s very concerning for us.”

Pickering-Martin made a call for increasing use of food co-ops as an alternative to supermarkets, noting a South Auckland co-op that provides “a big box of fruit and vegetables for $15 a week”.