Food prices went up by 0.5% in December, a smaller increase than November’s 0.7%, according to information from the most recent CPI report. This marks the twelfth consecutive month of food price increases.

Food at home

The food at home index inched up 0.4% in December, showing increases in five out of the six major grocery store food groups. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs declined 0.4% after rising 0.7% or more during each of the past seven months. After recent increases, the indexes for beef and pork declined 2.0% and 0.8%, respectively.

The index for fruits and vegetables showed the largest increase for the month, jumping 0.9%, with the index for fresh fruits increasing 1.8%. Price changes for the other major grocery store groups included:

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  • Nonalcoholic beverages: +0.8% (+0.2% in November)
  • Dairy and related products: +0.7% (+0.2% in November)
  • Other food at home: +0.6% (+1.0% in November)
  • Cereals and bakery products: +0.4% (+0.8% in November)

Over the past year, the food at home index has increased 6.5%, which compares to a 1.5% annual increase over the past 10 years. All six major grocery store food group indexes increased over this time, but the index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs showed the largest increase by far at 12.5%, despite decreasing in December. The smallest increase for the 12-month period was in the dairy and related products group, which increased 1.6%.

Supplier Catalog - GarveyFood away from home

The food away from home index increased 0.6% in December, which is the same increase as November. The index for full service meals increased 0.8%, following a smaller 0.4% increase in November. The index for limited service meals rose 0.6%, after a 1.0% increase in November.

The food away from home index has increased 6.0% over the past year — its largest 12-month increase since January 1982. The index for limited services meals increased 8.0% over the past year, and the index for full service meals climbed 6.6% during this time. 

Food at employee sites and schools declined 49.3% over the past year, amid widespread free lunch programs.