The price of food rose 0.2% for U.S. consumers in February, following a 0.1% increase to start the year, says the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI). Overall, food prices remained flat last month compared to February 2016.
The food and drink index increased last month across the board. While it isn’t a competition (or is it?), non-alcoholic beverages topped the index with a 1.5% increase since January 2011.
Following this upward trend, dairy and related items increased 0.8%, the same increase as the previous month. Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs rose by 0.2% with a hard-hitter up to bat: the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) predicts higher poultry prices between 1.0% and 2.0% as the industry recovers from last year’s low prices.
Let’s not forget produce! After a steady decline, fresh fruit and vegetable prices increased 0.7%. The ERS anticipates an increase for fresh fruit throughout the year. Vegetable prices will continue to drop.
Cereal, bakery products, and other at-home food prices declined 0.4% in February. Despite the drop, ERS expects an overall increase for this group over the coming months.
Finally, the ERS is betting on the cost of poultry, fish and seafood, and dairy to rise in 2017. The forecast is based on an assumption of normal, stable weather throughout the remainder of the year. Hopefully, the United States will avoid another drought, an event that drives up the price of eggs, dairy, fruit, and vegetables. We’ll see how it all unfolds.
Source: Consumer Price Index — February 2017