Wholesale price advances in December were again larger than those found at retail.Indicating food retailers are still protecting their shoppers from higher food costs, wholesale price advances in December were again larger than those found at retail reports The Food Institute. December marked the eighth-straight month wholesale food prices versus a year ago have outpaced retail. The gap between the two narrowed to a single percentage point however, down about one-third from the prior two months. On an annualized basis for 2012, however, wholesale and retail inflation were nearly identical, at around 2.5%, for the past two years. The trend between the two indices flipped after the first quarter of 2012, during which retail price gains exceeded wholesale by a comfortable margin. Overall retail food prices were up just 2.5% versus 2011 according to the Consumer Price Index report for December 2012. That is nearly one-half of 2011’s 4.8% rate and below the previous five-year average of 3.24%, reports THE FOOD INSTITUTE. The largest gains for the year were in beef & veal, up 6.4%, fats & oils, up 6.1%, and poultry, up 5.5%. On the declining side, the only major category to include is fresh fruits & vegetables, which fell 2.0%. Food away-from-home prices were up 2.8% for the year, the highest rate since 2009 The away-from-home inflation rate was slightly below the 3.0% previous five-year average rate.