While prices for most foods have remained flat this year, retail beef prices have continued to increase, with price inflation likely to continue during 2013, according to the latest Consumer Price Index data from USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS).
The index for all food increased 2 percent from August 2011 through August 2012, and ERS projects the index to be up 2.5 to 3.5 percent for the year. During 2011, the index for all foods increased by 3.7 percent.
In contrast, the index for beef and veal increased by 5.8 percent between August 2011 and August 2012. During that same period, steak prices were up 5.4 percent and ground beef prices increased 6.8 percent ERS projects an annual increase of 3.5 to 4.5 percent in the beef and veal index for 2012 and another jump of 4 to 5 percent in 2013. Last year the beef and veal index climbed 10.2 percent. The August index for beef and veal was actually down 0.4 percent from July, so prices seem to have moderated somewhat
Pork prices increased 1.6 percent in August but remain 0.2 percent below those of a year earlier. For this year, ERS projects that pork prices will increase 1 to 2 percent followed by a 2.5 to 3.5 percent increase next year.
Poultry prices are 5.6 percent above those of a year ago in spite of a 0.5 percent decline during August. ERS projects an annual increase of 3.5 to 4.5 percent in the index for poultry prices for 2012.
The Consumer Price Index for Food at Home increased just 0.2 percent in August and is up 1.5 percent from a year earlier. ERS expects that index to increase 2.5 to 3.5 percent for 2012. Food at home currently represents 60.4 percent of all consumer food expenditures, according to the report.
The index for food away from home, which represents 39.6 percent of all consumer food spending, increased by 3 percent during August and 2.8 percent between August 2011 and August 2012. ERS projects the Food Away from Home index to increase 2 to 3 percent during 2012 and 2.5 to 3.5 percent next year.
Read more on the food-price outlook from USDA/ERS.