Food Prices Below Overall Inflation In 2021

Overall, food prices increased by an average of 3.9 percent in 2021 compared to 2020, the highest annual increase since 2008. USDA’s Economic Research Service released new data Wednesday that shows food prices grew more slowly than “all items,” but more quickly than all other of the “major groups” tracked by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Consumer Price Index for all items rose 4.7 percent in 2021. The food-away-from-home, restaurant purchases, increased 4.5 percent, compared with an increase of 3.5 percent for food-at-home – grocery stores or other purchases from food retailers. The highest price increases in food-at-home categories in 2021 were for beef and veal at 9.3 percent, pork at 8.6 percent, and fresh fruit 5.5 percent. Using the Consumer Price Index data, USDA researchers project overall food prices will increase between two and three percent in 2022. The Consumer Price Index for food increased 0.9 percent in January.

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