Foodservice Equipment Reports

Wholesale Food Prices, Menu Prices Rose Last Month

After three months of declines, food prices at the wholesale level rose in March. Menu prices also posted another slight gain, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly reports on producer and consumer prices.

Wholesale food prices at the so-called “finished” level rose 0.2% versus February, the first gain since November.  A 12.8% jump in the index for fresh and dry vegetables was a big factor. Pork prices also rose.

Prices for food further back in the processing cycle also rose, suggesting prices at the finished level may continue to post gains in the months ahead. The intermediate stage saw prices up 0.6% while so-called “crude” food prices rose 2.8%.

On the consumer side, menu prices recorded a 0.2% increase for March, following a 0.1% gain in February and a 0.4% gain in January. For the 12 months through March, food-away-from-home prices are up 3% on a seasonally unadjusted basis. Grocery-store price gains have slowed recently, as food wholesale prices have fallen. The food-at-home gain for March was 0.1%, following no increases for three of the four months beginning with November last year. Grocery prices are 3.6% above March ’11.

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