Food prices continue upward

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Food prices, and particularly meat prices, have continued to move higher though this year, although the total increase will run behind what we saw during 2011, according to the latest Consumer Price Index for Food.

Over the past 12 months through July, the index for all foods is up 2.3 percent compared with the same period last year, and USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) projects an annual increase of 2.5 to 3.5 percent for 2012. During 2011, the index for all food increased by 3.7 percent.

The index for beef and veal increased by 6.6 percent from July 2011 to July 2012, and ERS projects an annual increase of 3.5 to 4.5 percent for 2012 compared with 2011. Last-year’s increase for beef and veal was 10.2 percent. For 2013, ERS projects the index for beef and veal to increase another 4 to 5 percent. The 12-month increase of 6.6 percent in the index for beef and veal far exceeds that for any other food group in the report. The next-largest is the index for fats and oils, with a 12-month increase of 4.9 percent through July.

Last year, the index for pork increased by 8.5 percent, but over the past 12 months through July, the index has dropped by 1 percent. ERS projects an annual increase of 2.5 percent to 2.5 percent for the index for pork this year and 3 to 4 percent for 2013.

The index for all meats has increased 2.8 percent over the past 12 months through July, with a projected annual increase of 3.5 to 4.5 percent this year and 3 to 4 percent in 2013. In 2011, the index for all meats was up by 8.8 percent.

Americans currently spend 60.4 percent of their food dollars on food for consumption at home and 39.6 percent on food away from home. The report projects the 2012 index for food-at-home spending will increase by 2.5 to 3.5 percent, and the 2013 index will rise another 3 to 4 percent. The index for food away from home will increase by 2 to 3 percent this year and another 2.5 to 3.5 percent in 2013.

View the full dataset from USDA/ERS.



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