Grocery shoppers to see fourth year in a row of low food inflation in 2018

The government lowered its forecast of grocery inflation this year to a barely noticeable 0.25 percent, due to ample meat supplies, and in its first forecast of the coming year, estimated grocery prices would rise by 1.5 percent in 2018. It would be the fourth year in a row of lower-than-average growth in retail food prices.

A rare year for food prices — up only 1 percent

U.S. food prices will rise by a marginal 1 percent this year, the second-smallest increase since 1974, and it's all due to lower grocery prices, said a government forecast. Groceries, which are the bulk of food spending, would cost less this year than they did in 2015 — the first taste of price deflation at the supermarket since 1967.

Sharply lower poultry, fish and dairy prices calm food inflation

Grocery store prices for food will rise by a lower-than-average 2 percent this year, held down by large supplies of broiler chickens and dairy products, according to a government forecast. The monthly Food Price Outlook said fish and seafood prices would rise at half their usual rate, also constraining food inflation. Poultry, seafood and dairy account for nearly 11 cents of every food dollar. Americans spend 59 cents of their food dollar for "food at home" - groceries - and 41 cents on carry-out and sit-down meals.