Foodservice Equipment Reports

Wholesale Food Prices Falling, Slowing Menu-Price Increases

Wholesale food prices fell again in February, the third consecutive month prices have moved lower. This trend, in turn, apparently slowed the pace of menu-price increases in February from those seen in recent months.

Average wholesale food prices fell 0.3% in February, compared to January, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Restaurant Association. The decline follows a 0.7% decline in January and a half-point drop in December. NRA noted that it was the first time wholesale food prices had fallen for three consecutive months in three years.

The food-away-from-home price index, part of the BLS’s Consumer Price Index, rose only 0.1% in February, after a 0.4% gain in January. Restaurateurs have been quite aggressive about menu-price increases since last summer with monthly increases in the 0.2%-to-0.4% range. Grocery store food prices were flat in February. Food-at-home prices have increased 4.5% in the past 12 months, while menu prices are up 3.1% for the period.

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