Grocery store prices for meat are declining after their springtime coronavirus surge, but more slowly than expected, meaning that shoppers will pay noticeably more at the meat counter this year than in 2019, said USDA economists. In the monthly Food Price Outlook, the USDA forecast meat prices will rise 6.5 percent this year, more than double their usual rate.
Lower prices for meat, poultry, fish and eggs were the driving factor for a slight decline in grocery prices during August, the second month in a row that supermarket prices were down, said the monthly Consumer Price Index. Despite the decreases, food inflation ran at 4.6 percent in the past 12 months, rising far more rapidly than the overall U.S. rate of 1.3 percent.
After soaring because of coronavirus outbreaks among packing plant employees, meat prices are on the decline for the first time this year and are headed lower, said the USDA on Tuesday.
Beef prices in the grocery store are 14.2 percent higher than a year ago, part of a broad rise in prices for "food at home," said the Labor Department on Wednesday. While it was the fourth month in a row of surging grocery prices, there were signs that food inflation is easing.
Food stamp benefits will rise by 5.3 percent in October, to a maximum of $680 per month for a family of four in the continental United States, said the USDA Food and Nutrition Service on Wednesday. The cost-of-living adjustment was announced even as anti-hunger groups are calling for a temporary 15 percent increase in SNAP benefits during the pandemic.
Grocery prices will rise by a higher-than-average 3 percent this year, due largely to the coronavirus-propelled surge in the cost of meat, poultry, and fish at the supermarket, forecast the USDA on Thursday. It would be the largest annual increase since 2011. (No paywall)
Food prices rose sharply for the second month in a row, with beef recording its largest one-month increase ever, as the U.S. food inflation rate hit 4 percent in May, said the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Wednesday. It is the highest rate since January 2012. While food prices surged, the overall U.S. inflation rate for the past 12 months was a tiny 0.1 percent. (No paywall)
Coronavirus constrictions in the meat supply, which prompted some grocery chains to limit sales per customer, are driving the highest rate of price inflation at supermarkets in eight years, said the USDA in a monthly forecast. Grocery prices will rise by a higher-than-average 2.5 percent this year, double the previous estimate.
Thanks to declines in food prices in 2016 and 2017, grocery store prices will stand at a lower overall level at the end of this year than they were at the end of 2015, said the monthly Food Price Outlook. For the second month in a row, USDA raised its forecast of price increases for fresh vegetables but forecast a scant 0.5 percent rise in food prices for the year.
Grocery prices will rise by a nearly invisible 0.5 percent this year and a modest 1.5 percent in 2019, estimated the USDA’s monthly Food Price Outlook on Thursday. If the forecast proves true, 2019 would be the fourth year in a row that supermarket prices rise at a much slower rate than the usual 2.1 percent annually.