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)
Americans will eat more chicken, already their favorite meat, as stay-at-home orders have consumers shopping at the supermarket rather than going to restaurants, said ag lender CoBank on Thursday in assessing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on food producers and processors. (No paywall)
Although U.S. food prices generally show small increases from year to year, the USDA says prices for "food away from home," a category that includes restaurants, carry-out food and institutional meals, rose 3.1 percent in 2019. That's the largest increase since 3.5 percent in 2009 and is part of a pattern in which the price of food away from home rises more rapidly than retail prices for groceries.
Organic food is everywhere, from nationwide retailers to the local corner store, and facing increased price competition that slowed sales growth to its lowest rate since 2009, said the Organic Trade Association in an annual report on Wednesday.
The United States is headed for the fifth year in a row of lower-than-average increases in grocery prices, part of a longer trend of smaller and less volatile changes in food inflation, said two USDA economists.
Led by “much weaker” vegetable oil, dairy, and grain prices, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s index of global food prices fell to its lowest level since May 2016. The price of vegetable oil dropped to a 12-year low.
In a surprising amicus brief, the Justice Department last week recommended that the Supreme Court not hear Missouri’s challenge to California’s animal-welfare laws, which mandate larger cages for some farm animals. The stance could bode well for animal-welfare advocates fighting for similar legislation in other states.
If they didn’t tighten their belts, Americans certainly pinched their pennies on food during the 2008-09 recession and the recovery that stretched far into this decade, say USDA economists. Middle-income households continued to spend less on food through 2016.
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.