Young woman in a mask at a grocery store. A blonde in a white sweater selects frozen goods. Coronavirus pandemic

Food prices jumped 0.4% in May, following an increase of the same percentage in April, according to the latest CPI report. This is the fifth consecutive month that food prices have been on the rise.

Food at home 

Prices for food at home also increased by 0.4% in May. Although that’s the same increase as in April, not all the major grocery store groups experienced price growth this time around.

The largest contributor to food at home price increases was the meats, poultry, fish, and eggs category, which rose 1.3% in May after a smaller 0.5% increase in April. Beef prices spurred this growth with a 2.3% increase — the largest price spike for the beef index since June 2020.

Price changes varied for the other major grocery store groups:

  • Cereals and bakery products: +0.5% (+0.4% in April)
  • Dairy and related products: +0.4% (+0.6% in April)
  • Fruits and vegetables: Unchanged (+0.8% in April)
  • Other food at home: Unchanged (+0.1% in April)
  • Nonalcoholic beverages: -0.5% (+0.3% in April)

The overall food at home index increased 0.7% over the past 12 months. During that period, five of the six food groups had price growth, led by fruits and vegetables, which increased by 2.9%. The index for nonalcoholic beverages, however, declined by 0.2% over the same period.

Food away from home

After a 0.3% increase in April, food away from home prices are still on the rise, jumping another 0.6% in May. This change reflects price growth for limited service meals and the largest price increase for full service meals since June 2020:

  • Full service meals: +0.6% (+0.2% in April)
  • Limited service meals: +0.5% (+0.5% in April)

Over the past year, the food away from home index jumped 4.0% — with an increase of 6.1% for limited service meals and 4.1% for full service meals for the period. This marks the largest 12-month increase for full service meals since October 2008.

Food prices will likely continue to climb this year, driven by increasing costs of labor, ingredients, and shipping.

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