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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