Foodservice Equipment Reports

Wholesale Food Prices Fell Again In June As Menu Prices Inched Higher

Food prices fell at the wholesale level for the third consecutive month in June, according to producer-price data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meanwhile, food prices at the consumer level also were down overall, with grocery-store prices off 0.1% and menu prices up a mere 0.1% for the third consecutive month.

Overall wholesale food prices fell 1.8% in June, according to the National Restaurant Association, which notes the drop is the largest single-month decline since 2006. At the finished foods level, prices fell 2.2% with big declines in prices for fresh fruits and vegetables and meats. Still, wholesale food prices are 4.7% higher year to date.

The overall Producer Price Index for finished goods declined 0.5% in June. This follows drops of 0.3% in May and 0.1% in April. The 12-month change in finished goods, seasonally unadjusted, was 2.8%.

On the consumer-price side, the 0.1% increase in prices for food-away-from-home was the seventh consecutive month of increases of 0.1% or flat. For the last 12 months, menu prices are only 1.2% higher. With the 0.1% decline in grocery store prices, food-at-home prices are only 0.2% higher than a year ago. Some observers believe the gap between menu-price increases-- moderate as they are--and grocery-store prices has undercut foodservice sales. All the energy-price markers, from gasoline to electricity and natural gas, also fell in June. The overall Consumer Price Index was off 0.1% and is only 1.1% higher for the past 12 months unadjusted.

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