Foodservice Equipment Reports

Wholesale Food Prices And Retail Gas Prices Trend Lower

Wholesale food prices fell 0.5% in September, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while gasoline prices at the consumer level continued to fall. Both trends typically are positive for foodservice. In other economic news, consumer food and menu prices rose only slightly while eating- and drinking-place sales hit a new monthly record in September. Most of the reports were delayed by the federal-government shutdown.

Wholesale Food Prices: September prices at the finished food level fell 1%, intermediate-state wholesale food prices rose 0.3% and crude-stage food and feedstuff prices fell 0.4%, according to the BLS. The National Restaurant Association calculates the overall prices fell 0.5%. The decline reversed a recent trend of moderately higher prices the past few months. For the 12 months ending September, overall wholesale food prices have risen 2.6%. This compares with a 2.2% increase for calendar 2012.

Consumer Prices: Menu prices rose only 0.1% in September, the BLS reported, and are running only 1.9% higher for the past 12 months. Grocery-store food prices were flat and are up only 1% for the same 12-month period.

Gasoline Prices: On the national level, a gallon of regular gasoline averaged $3.186 Nov. 11, according to AAA. This is 6.6 cents lower than a week ago, 15.9 cents cheaper than a month ago and 25.3 cents below a year ago. The lower gas prices are helping prop up foodservice spending.

Retail Prices: Eating- and drinking-place sales rose 0.9% in September, according to data from the Census Bureau, reaching $46.4 billion on a seasonally adjusted basis and setting a new monthly record. The previous record was set in April. Sales have risen for three consecutive quarters. Grocery-store sales rose 1% and overall retail sales fell 0.1% in September.     

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