food

The latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) for food shows food-price inflation has slowed during 2013, including prices for meat and poultry. The CPI for all food increased by 1.4 percent from July 2012 to July 2013, and USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) projects an annual increase of 1.5 to 2.5 percent for all food and food-at-home prices. That would indicate a slightly smaller increase than we saw in 2012, and 2013 food-price inflation would drop below the 20-year historical average of 2.8 percent.

ERS notes the inflationary impact of the 2012 drought on food prices has been offset by factors such as decreased exports of many U.S. agricultural products, a stronger U.S. dollar, low energy price inflation and decreased prices for many commodities unaffected by the drought.

Price inflation for meat, and specifically for beef and veal, also has moderated this year. The 12-month increase for beef and veal prices through July was 1.3 percent. ERS projects an annual increase of 2 to 3 percent for 2013, compared with 6.4 percent last year and 10.2 percent during 2011.

Pork prices increased 1.9 percent from July 2012 to July 2013, and ERS projects an annual increase of 0 to 1 percent for 2013, after increases of 0.3 percent in 2012 and 8.5 percent in 2011.