If inflation is down, why are food prices still rising?

If inflation is down, why are food prices still rising?

The U.S. inflation rate, as judged by the consumer price index, reached its lowest level in over two years in May, according to data released by the

But what the data also revealed is that food prices continue to increase. According to the new government data, food at home prices went up 5.8% for the year ending in May. For food away from home, prices have jumped 8.3%. 

The goal of the U.S. Federal Reserve has been to get inflation down to 2% annually. Much of what is keeping inflation high is higher food and labor costs, experts say.

Some food items are increasing at faster rates than others. 

Some of the items that had an over 10% price increase in the last year include:

Frozen vegetables (18.7%)

Frozen drinks (15.8%)

Bread (12.5%)

Fats and oils (11.8%)

Candy (11.6%)

Cakes, cookies and cupcakes (11%)

Baby food and formula (10.1)

Although many staple items have seen steep price increases, some items are seeing price hikes relax. Egg prices fell 13.8% between the months of April and May, marking the largest one-month price drop for eggs since 1951. After egg prices surged in late 2022, eggs were 0.4% cheaper in May 2023 compared to 12 months prior.

Meat prices more broadly are up 0.3% in the last year, with pork and seafood prices actually falling in the last year. 

Fresh fruits and vegetables have increased 0.6% in the last year, with fresh fruit prices falling 0.5%.

One of the top reasons food prices more broadly have increased significantly in recent years is rising grain import prices.  grain prices have increased by over 50% in the last three years. 

 by the University of Illinois, Ukraine is one of the world’s largest grain and corn producers. Since Russia’s invasion began in February 2022, the country’s shipments of grain started to be disrupted. 

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