Woman holding an apple at the grocery store

The upward trend of food costs continues. In March, the overall food index rose 0.3%, following a 0.2% increase in February, according the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) report. Here’s a closer look at the March Index numbers.

Steady price hikes for food at home and away from home

The cost of both food at home and away from home increased last month, continuing a trend set at the beginning of this year.

Food at home

  • The cost of food at home went up 0.5%.
  • 4 of the 6 major grocery store food group prices saw gains:
    • Fruits and vegetables +1.6%
    • Other food at home +0.7%
    • Cereals and bakery products +0.3%
    • Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs +0.3%

Food away from home

  • The cost of food away from home grew 0.2%, following February’s upward trend.
  • Overall, food away from home increased 2.4% from March 2016 to March 2017.

Meat costs trend upward

Meat costs are on an upswing, increasing 0.3% in February and another 0.7% in March. Price hikes were seen for uncooked beef roasts, bacon, ham, and other meats.

The largest hike? “Other meats,” like frankfurters, lunch meat, and organ meats, cost 5.0% more in March (compared to being down 3.5% in February).

Fruit and veggies rise, too

Apple pies and salads cost consumers more in March. The price of apples ticked up 1.8% from February to March. Lettuce was up 4.7%, and overall fruit and veggie prices rose 1.6%.

Fresh fruits particularly experienced the largest jump at 2.4%, following lower prices in January and February.

Amidst increases, dairy prices and nonalcoholic beverages decrease

If you’re going to a potluck, you might want to sign up to bring the cheese platter. Dairy and related product costs fell 0.6% in March after rising in each of the 3 months prior. In particular, cheese and ice cream prices fell -0.9% and -0.7%, respectively.

Last, but not least, the cost of nonalcoholic beverages fell 0.1% after rising in February.

Source: Consumer Price Index — March 2017

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