The U.S. government lowered its 2012 inflation forecast for meat. The projections for all food are unchanged from a month ago, with a 3% to 4% increase in 2011 prices to be followed by a 2.5% to 3.5% increase in 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a monthly report.

Food inflation has become an increasing concern for consumers as rising commodity costs, due to disappointing crops, tight livestock supplies and strong global demand, have helped lift prices for a variety of items at grocery stores and restaurants.

Meat prices in particular have been a concern, with the USDA projecting a 6% to 7% increase in 2011 as pork and beef prices have surged to record highs this year.