The latest Consumer Price Index from USDA indicates that all food prices increased 0.3 percent from January to February 2014 and 1.4 percent compared to February 2013 price levels. For 2014, USDA is projecting all food prices to increase between 2.5 and 3.5 percent, which the agency says is the historical normal range of annual price increases, as long as normal weather conditions hold throughout the country. The ongoing drought in California could have "large and lasting" effects on fruit, vegetable, dairy and egg prices, according to USDA.

The price index for food away from home increased 0.3 percent from January to February and 2.2 percent from February 2013 to February 2014. For food at home, the price index increased 0.3 percent from January to February and 0.9 percent since February 2013.

Prices for meat increased 1.7 percent from January to February and 3.6 percent since February 2013. For beef and veal specifically, which are at or near record prices around the country, the price index increased 4 percent from January to February this year and 5.4 percent from February 2013 to February 2014. According to USDA, this represents the largest monthly increase in beef prices since November 2003 and is due to an increase in exports, a decrease in imports, and a smaller U.S. cowherd.

Pork prices rose 0.3 percent from January to February and are up 4 percent since February 2013. The price index for poultry indicates that prices dropped 0.5 percent from January to February but are up 2.5 percent from February 2013 levels.

Dairy prices increased just 0.7 percent from January to February and 0.6 percent from this time last year. USDA is project inflation to accelerate in coming months for dairy products.

View the latest Consumer Price Index data from USDA’s Economic Research Service.

On the producer side of the equation, prices paid to beef and cattle producers increased over the past month. Prices paid to cattle producers increased 1.1 percent from January to February and 14.9 percent since this time last year. USDA is projecting an 8-9 percent increase in prices paid to cattle producers in 2014. The price index for wholesale beef producers increased 2.4 percent from January to February and 7 percent since February 2013. USDA is projecting a 4-5 percent increase in price index for wholesale beef in 2014.  

View the latest Producer Price Index data from USDA’s Economic Research Service.