Retail Food Prices Continue To Climb

Articles
May 26, 2011

Retail Food Prices Continue To Climb

Retail food price inflation continues to be a concern to consumers as the Consumer Price Index for food-at-home was up 3.9% from a year ago during April, reports The Food Institute. This is the same increase reported during the same month four years ago and well above April last year when price were actually unchanged from the prior year after being in deflationary territory for the previous nine months. And Food Institute President Brian Todd commented that “based on the upward trend at the wholesale level, further increases in retail food prices will be forthcoming.”

Retail food price inflation continues to be a concern to consumers as the Consumer Price Index for food-at-home was up 3.9% from a year ago during April, reports The Food Institute. This is the same increase reported during the same month four years ago and well above April last year when price were actually unchanged from the prior year after being in deflationary territory for the previous nine months. And Food Institute President Brian Todd commented that “based on the upward trend at the wholesale level, further increases in retail food prices will be forthcoming.” 

The Food Institute also looked at where consumers are being impacted most by this greater inflation level. As the accompanying chart shows, center of the plate staples, beef, pork and seafood were the leading culprits. And these items not only were among the highest percentage gainers but combined make up 15% of the food-at-home market basket. Thus, about 15 cents of every dollar families spend on food to be consumed at home, is for these three categories.

Both beef and pork have risen over 10% from a year earlier as higher feed costs have pushed prices sharply higher. The increase in seafood was not quite as dramatic but still topped 6% in April versus a year ago.

The other major center-of-plate item, poultry, has advanced as well, but only by a bit over 2% over the past year, thus is a more moderately priced alternative for shoppers.

Another staple for most families, coffee, has also jumped sharply, rising nearly 14% between April of 2010 and 2011. Reduced output in major producing regions is the force driving prices higher here.

As it has for 83 years, The Food Institute will be following these trends closely again in 2011 for its members. And readers of the Lempert Report can take advantage of a special offer from The Food Institute at http://www.foodinstitute.com/lempert.cfm.