Shopping during the coronavirus pandemic. A young woman in a medical mask on her face looks at vegetables in a supermarket. The concept of the new reality.

Food prices changed little in January — the overall food price index went up by only 0.1% last month, following an increase of 0.3% in December, according to the latest CPI report. (The latest release includes corrections to December’s food prices.) 

Food at home 

After a 0.3% rise in December, food at home prices dropped by 0.1% in January. Prices for four of the six major grocery store groups declined during the month, including a 0.8% drop for cereals and bakery products — the largest decrease for the category since March 2016. 

  • Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs: +0.5% (-0.2% in December)
  • Nonalcoholic beverages: +0.1% (+1.1% in December)
  • Fruits and vegetables: -0.2% (-0.2% in December)
  • Other food at home: -0.3% (+0.7% in December)
  • Dairy and related products: -0.4% (+0.8% in December)
  • Cereals and bakery products: -0.8% (+0.4% in December)

For January, the 12-month price change for food at home was +3.7%, with increases for all six grocery store groups during the period. Price gains ranged from 2.5% (cereals and bakery products) to 5.1% (meats, poultry, fish, and eggs).

Food away from home

Prices for food away from home were up by 0.3% in January, slightly below December’s 0.4% increase. This change reflects price growth for both limited service and full service meals last month:

  • Limited service meals: +0.6% (+0.5% in December)
  • Full service meals: +0.3% (+0.3% in December)

Food away from home’s 12-month index remained at +3.9% in January. Limited service meals surged by 6.2% over the year-long period, its biggest 12-month increase in the index’s history. Prices for full service meals jumped by 2.9% for the period.

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