Foodservice Equipment Reports

Wholesale And Consumer Food Prices Rise Again in July

Food prices at both the producer and consumer levels were up again in July according to data released last week from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Prices at grocery stores continued to rise faster than those at restaurants.

On the wholesale side, prices for so-called “finished” foods rose 0.6% over the previous month in July, seasonally adjusted, following a similar increase in June and a 1.4% decline in May.

On a combined basis, food prices rose 0.3% in July, according to the National Restaurant Association, and are 9% higher for the 12 months ending July. The surge has been led by proteins such as beef, pork, diary and eggs, all of which have seen double-digit gains the past year.

The overall Producer Price Index for finished goods was 0.2% higher in July, as a 0.6% decline in energy prices offset increases for most other goods. During the past 12 months, the finished goods index has risen 7.2%.

On the consumer level, overall food prices were 0.4% higher in July, driven by a 0.6% jump for food-at-home prices, which now stand 5.4% higher than 12 months ago. Food-away-from-home prices rose moderately again in July, up 0.2%. Menu prices are 2.6% higher than a year ago. The disparity between grocery and restaurant food price increases is generally considered to be favorable to foodservice.

The overall Consumer Price Index rose 0.5% in July, led by a 4.7% increase in gasoline prices. Gas prices had fallen substantially the previous two months. The overall CPI is up 3.6% for the past 12 months.

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