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Report: Overall Food Prices Remain Steady, But Food at Home Index Falls

In September, consumer prices for food were unchanged overall for the third month in a row, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U).

Prices for food at home, however, continued to decline, while prices for food away from home maintained their upward trend.

Prices for food at home continued to decline, but at a slightly lower rate.

Even while the overall food index remained unchanged, the food at home index fell 0.1% in September, compared to decreases of 0.2% to 0.5% in the previous four months. The index for food away from home was up 0.2%, the same rate as last month and several months before.

Of the six major grocery store food group indexes, half declined and half increased.

  • Nonalcoholic beverages fell 0.4%.
  • Fruits and vegetables fell 0.3%.
  • Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs fell 0.2%.
  • There was a 0.1% rise for cereals and bakery products, dairy and related products, and other food at home.

Overall food prices fell over the last year, with food at home seeing a substantial decline.

Over the last 12 months, the overall food index has declined by 0.3%.

  • The food at home index has fallen by 2.2% over the past 12 months, the largest annual decline since December 2009.
  • The food away from home index has gone up 2.4% since September 2015.

The food at home figure includes the following year-over-year trends, with all sectors showing a decline:

  • Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs: -6.3%
  • Dairy and related products: -2.5%
  • Nonalcoholic beverages: -0.9%
  • Fruits and vegetables: -0.7%.
  • Other food at home: -0.6%
  • Cereals and bakery products: -0.5%

Alcohol prices were up for September, and also up over the last year.

The alcoholic beverages index—which is not included in the overall food index—rose by 0.3% in September.

  • The indexes for alcoholic beverages at home and away from home each rose by 0.3%.

Over the past 12 months, the alcoholic beverage index has risen by 1.4%.

  • The alcoholic beverages at home index has increased by 1.0%.
  • The alcoholic beverages away from home index has increased by 2.0%.

 

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