Foodservice Equipment Reports

Wholesale Food Prices Haven’t Surged, Yet

The price-increase news for foodservice operators in December was actually pretty good. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported wholesale food prices at all three levels of the wholesale chain fell during the month. Finished foods were down 0.9% compared to November, intermediate foods and feeds also fell 0.9% and crude foodstuffs and feedstuffs prices dropped 1.1%. The overall Producer Price Index at the finished level also fell, down 0.2% in December, as energy prices were also off.

But unfortunately, the numbers only auger what’s to come: significant run-ups in prices for proteins. Prices for beef and veal dropped substantially at both the finished and intermediate levels, as producers culled herds to cut costs given the run-ups in feed costs. Most analysts expect prices for all the proteins to rise over the next two years by as much as 15% as the effects of higher feed costs make their way through the system.

On the consumer side, menu prices increased 0.1% while supermarket prices rose 0.2%. Food-at-home price increases have now outpaced menu price increases for three consecutive months.

For the year, food-at-home prices rose 1.3% while food-away-from-home prices were up 2.5%

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