Supermarket prices rose 0.4% in October, their smallest increase since December 2021, as shoppers actually saw price declines in the meat and dairy cases and other areas of the store.
The cost of eating at home had risen 0.7% in September and is up 12.4% over the past 12 months. Consumers have seen increases of 1% or more for many months this year.
The overall Consumer Price Index also rose 0.4% in October, the same increase as in September.
President Joe Biden highlighted the numbers on food costs in saying the October CPI “shows that we are making progress on bringing inflation down, without giving up all of the progress we have made on economic growth and job creation.”
He said the “report shows a much-needed break in inflation at the grocery store as we head into the holidays.”
Dairy prices actually fell in October, slipping 0.1%, with the price of fresh whole milk down 0.9%. The index for fruits and vegetables also dropped 0.9%, despite price increases for lettuce and tomatoes.
Indexes of other food groups all rose, but some sharp increases for some products masked price softening for many others.
The index for meats, poultry, fish and eggs rose 0.6%, led in part by a 10% increase in egg prices. Prices for the beef, pork and poultry categories were all down slightly in October.
Prices for eggs and poultry have soared over the past year due to outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza. Eggs cost 43% more than they did a year ago.
The price of turkey is up 16.9% year over year, although it slipped 0.1% in October.
The index for cereals and bakery products rose 0.8% last month, led by higher prices for bread and rice.
The index for fats and oils, which is up 23.4% since October 2021, rose another 2.1% last month.