Foodservice Equipment Reports

Wholesale Food Prices Rise Again While Menu Prices Rise Slightly

Food prices at the wholesale level rose for the fifth month in the last six, according to October data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released last week. The combined wholesale increase, as computed by the National Restaurant Association, was 0.3% compared with September. This number averages a gain of 0.8% at the finished level, a 1.5% decrease at the intermediate stage and a 1.2% rise at crude levels. For the past 12 months, wholesale food prices have risen 2.5%.

The increases were driven by a 17.7% jump in fresh vegetable prices, a 3.6% increase in flour and a 2.1% gain in beef and veal prices. Many analysts are concerned about the trend in beef prices as herds have been severely culled in the wake of last year’s drought.

On the retail level, both menu and grocery-store prices rose 0.1% in October, per data from the BLS’s Consumer Price Index. Menu prices are running 1.9% ahead of a year ago, while prices at grocery stores are 0.8% higher. The overall CPI is up on 1% for the past 12 months, the smallest gain in four years.

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