The Consumer Price Index for food increased at a faster pace than overall inflation last year, although the increase fell far short of that paid for energy commodities.
According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for food increased by 0.1 percent during December, following an increase of 0.2 percent in November. For the year, the food index was up 4.7 percent, compared with an increase of 1.5 percent during 2010. The CPI for all goods rose by 3 percent during 2011. The index for all items except food and energy was up 2.2 percent for 2011
The index for food at home was up 6 percent for 2011, compared with just 1.7 percent for 2010. Prices for food away from home increased at a slower pace, with the index up 2.9 percent for 2011 compared with 1.3 percent for 2010.
Energy prices eased somewhat during the second half of the year, but posted significant annual increases, with the CPI for energy up 6.6 percent. The rate of increase slowed from that during 2010 though, with last year’s energy index rising by 7.7 percent.
The gasoline index, which rose 13.8 percent in 2010, increased 9.9 percent in 2011. Prices for energy for home use, however, increased at a faster pace than last year. The fuel oil index rose 18.0 percent
and the electricity index increased 2.2 percent, while the index for natural gas declined for the third straight year, falling 3.7 percent. Overall, the household energy index rose 1.8 percent after a 0.8 percent increase in 2010.
All together, the inflation figures suggest consumers will continue to feel financially pinched at the supermarket. With more of their income going toward fueling their cars and heating their homes, and food prices higher overall, they’re likely to keep counting pennies and hunting bargains at the grocery store.
Read more on the Consumer Price Index from the Bureau of Labor Statistics