Food-price inflation slows in 2013

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The latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) for food shows food-price inflation has slowed during 2013, including prices for meat and poultry. The CPI for all food increased by 1.3 percent from October 2012 to October 2013, and USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) projects an annual increase of 1.5 to 2.5 percent for all food prices and 1 to 2 percent for food-at-home prices. That would indicate a slightly smaller increase than we saw in 2012, and 2013 food-price inflation would drop below the 20-year historical average of 2.8 percent.

ERS notes that food prices during 2012 remained relatively flat in spite of severe drought over much of the country. Factors such as decreased exports of many U.S. agricultural products, a stronger U.S. dollar, low energy price inflation and decreased prices for commodities unaffected by the drought helped keep overall food-price inflation lower than expected.

Price inflation for meat, and specifically for beef and veal, also has moderated this year. The 12-month increase for beef and veal prices through October was 1.4 percent. ERS projects an annual increase of 2 to 3 percent for 2013, compared with 6.4 percent last year and 10.2 percent during 2011.

Pork prices increased 3.7 percent from October 2012 to October 2013, and ERS projects an annual increase of 0.5 to 1.5 percent for 2013, after increases of 0.3 percent in 2012 and 8.5 percent in 2011.

Poultry prices increased 5.1 percent over the past 12 months, and ERS projects an annual increase of 4 to 5 percent this year.

Dairy prices fell by 0.2 percent over the same 12-month period, and ERS projects an annual increase of 0 to 1 percent for 2013.

For 2014, ERS projects the indices for all food prices, food at home, food away from home and meat prices to increase by 2.5 to 3.5 percent. Of all the food categories listed, ERS projects the biggest 2014 increase in poultry prices, at 3 to 4 percent.

Read more about the Consumer Price Index for food from ERS.



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