USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) late Friday issued its food price forecast update; it left its inflation outlook unchanged at a 2.5% to 3.5% rise compared to 2012 (both for food at home and food away from home). The forecast means that prices are likely to increase more than in 2012, but that overall inflation is expected to be near the historical average for both indexes.
Higher feed prices due to the drought of 2012 means inflation will likely remain strong, especially during the first half of 2013, for most animal-based food products. "For most food categories not directly affected by the 2012 drought, however, inflation is expected to be at or even below normal levels," ERS explains.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all food rose 0.2% in April from the month prior to 1.5% above year-ago. The food-at-home CPI rose 0.1% for the month of April to 1% above year-ago. The restaurant index rose 0.3% in April to 2.3% over year-ago. The all-items CPI, on the other hand, fell 0.1% in April and is 1.1% above April 2012. "The overall direction of prices in 2013 continues to be mixed, and the food-at-home CPI remains unchanged thus far in 2013," ERS explains.
- Beef prices were down 0.5% in April and are 1.8% above last April.
- Pork prices decreased 0.6% in April and are 1.6% below last April's level.
- Poultry prices increased 0.7% in April and are 4.2% above prices last year at this time.
- Fish and seafood prices were up 3% from March to April and are 2.3% above the April 2012 level.
- Egg prices rose 1% in April and are now 3.1% above the April 2012 level.
- Dairy prices were flat from March to April and are 0.6% below the April 2012 level.
- Fresh fruit prices decreased 0.5% in April, and the fresh fruit index is up 1.4% from last year at this time
- Cereal and bakery product prices increased 0.7% from March to April and are up 1.3% from last year at this time
Get more details on April 2013 prices.