Aim: To compare food costs and variety of fresh fruits and vegetables (F&V) available at three time points in December 2006, December 2008 and July 2009. Methods: Data on the cost of a 44-item food basket across the main food groups including fresh and packaged foods were collected in 2006 (149 stores), 2008 (105 stores) and 2009 (129 stores). In addition, the number of varieties of 30 different fresh F&V was surveyed. Stores included the two major supermarket chains and smaller grocery chains using a convenience sample in NSW. The effects of rural/regional differences, socioeconomic differences, and store competition on cost and variety were assessed. Results: The mean price of the food basket increased by 3.4% between December 2006 and 2008 and was lowest in July 2009, decreasing by 6.2% from December 2006. Variation between the cheapest and most expensive individual stores resulted in a $221 price difference in 2009, $148 in 2008 and $182 in 2006. Total food and F&V costs were more expensive in remote areas compared with highly accessible areas. The number of F&V varieties was influenced by increasing remoteness, low socioeconomic area and supermarket competition. Conclusions: There was considerable variability in food costs by geographic areas and availability of fresh F&V also varied in both geographic and socio-demographic areas. Monitoring of food costs may help reduce price variability, enabling identification of areas where the cost of food is disproportionately high. © 2013 Dietitians Association of Australia.