Nearly one of every four Democrats in the House signed a letter to congressional leaders on Thursday, asking for a return to universal free school lunches and breakfasts.
Politically conservative Americans tend to overestimate and liberals to underestimate the annual inflation rate for food, according to a poll of 1,200 consumers by Purdue University. The difference in views is 3 to 4 percentage points, said Purdue researchers on Wednesday.
Food prices mushroomed by 11.4 percent in the past year, said the government's monthly inflation report on Tuesday. August was the 15th month in a row the food inflation rate increased, starting from 2.2 percent in May 2021.
Higher consumer demand and lower supplies are driving up pork and egg prices, but after increasing for six months in a row, the U.S. food inflation rate for 2022 is unchanged this month, said the USDA on Thursday.
More and more Americans are switching to generic brands or looking for discounts at the grocery store in response to sustained high food inflation, now running at 10.9 percent — the highest rate since the inflation-plagued late 1970s. Food prices continue to rise even though the overall U.S. inflation rate has slowed notably, said the Labor Department on Wednesday.
Foreign-born workers are an essential part of the U.S. food supply chain, and if the nation wants to stabilize food prices, it’s going to need a lot more of them, according to new research released this week by the American Immigration Council. The group, which advocates for immigrants throughout the U.S., found that ag employers are struggling to retain enough workers amid a national labor crisis that is fueling higher prices at grocery stores.
Rising prices — especially for food — are grabbing headlines, but the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, slumping consumer demand, and supply chain disruptions are all feeding into an exceedingly muddy economic picture. Yet when it comes to food and commodity inflation, the worst may be over.
Wholesale prices rocketed by a near-record 11.3 percent for the year ending in June, said the Labor Department on Thursday, a day after it reported that consumer prices had soared 9.1 percent during same period. Food was an inflationary factor in both reports, although some analysts saw signs that the momentum for higher prices was easing.
The FAO Food Price Index, a barometer of prices for food commodities, rocketed to a record high immediately after Russia invaded Ukraine and disrupted food supply chains. Now it is down for the third month in a row, with large global harvests at hand, but Ukraine is a new entrant on the list of nations needing food aid, said the UN agency.
Steered by fears of recession and a clearer picture of this year’s global grain harvest, the sky-high commodity prices fueled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are losing momentum, analysts said on Thursday. The USDA was likely to scale back its estimates of record-high farm-gate prices for this year’s wheat and soybean crops despite the uncertainties caused by warfare in the Black Sea region.
Nearly one in 10 people worldwide suffer from hunger, an increase of 150 million since the pandemic struck in 2020, and the numbers are sure to worsen, said the annual UN hunger report on Wednesday. “The global price spikes that we are seeing as a result of the crisis in Ukraine threaten to push countries around the world into famine,” said the leader of the World Food Program.
There is little correlation between commodity prices and inflation rates, said a group of agricultural economists writing at the farmdoc daily blog. "Current high inflation rates do not necessarily signal a continuing period of high commodity prices," they said, pointing to "plateaus" when corn and soybeans cluster around long-term price averages.
Led by meat, grocery prices are rising rapidly, up 11.9 percent in the past 12 months — even faster than the overall U.S. inflation rate of 8.6 percent, said the government in the Consumer Price Index report. "We're going to live with this inflation for a while," said President Biden over the weekend, despite administration efforts to reduce prices.
Bird flu outbreaks are driving up egg and poultry meat prices far faster than usual, with eggs expected to cost 20 percent more and poultry 9 percent more this year than their 2021 averages, said the Agriculture Department on Wednesday.
Although the U.S. inflation rate slowed to 8.3 percent for the year ending in April, food continues to cost more and more, said the Labor Department on Wednesday. Grocery prices shot up 10.8 percent in the past year, driven by higher prices for such foods as bacon, up 17.7 percent, chicken, up 16.4 percent, and eggs, up 22.6 percent.
Sharply lower prices for palm, sunflower and soybean oils helped pull down the Food Price Index marginally from its record high that followed Russia's invasion of Ukraine, said the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Grain prices also fell during April while meat, dairy and sugar prices rose.
U.S. food prices will soar by an average of 6.8 percent this year, the highest annual rate since President Reagan's first year in office — and that's assuming price increases slow in coming months, said a University of Missouri think tank on Monday. Sky-high commodity prices are a factor, "but higher labor and energy costs and a range of other factors are much of the story," said the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute.
The chief executives of the nation’s four largest meatpacking companies said on Wednesday that they were not the cause of surging meat prices at the grocery store, which are up by 15 percent in a year. And they told a skeptical House Agriculture chairman David Scott there was no pact to drive up profits at the expense of consumers or limit the meat supply for Americans.