New figures in the monthly Consumer Price Index show grocery prices increased 0.5% in November despite declines in beef, pork and poultry prices.
The month-over-month rise in food costs remains lower than what consumers were seeing earlier in the year — prices shot up 1.4% in May and 1.3% in July — but the November increase helped offset declines in energy costs, pushing the overall CPI up 0.1% for the month.
Supermarket prices have risen 12% over the past 12 months, while the broader CPI has increased 7.1%.
Reacting to the November CPI, President Joe Biden told reporters Tuesday there was “a lot of good news on the horizon."
“Inflation is coming down in America,” Biden said. “Make no mistake prices are still too high. We still have work to do.”
Higher prices for bread, dairy products and fruits and vegetables helped drive the increase in food costs last month.
The price of a loaf of bread rose 2%, pushing the index for cereal and bakery products up 1.1%. The index for dairy products rose 1% in November and is up 16.4% over the past year after easing 0.1% in October.
Fruit and vegetable prices jumped 1.4% last month, driven in part by a 3.2% increase in the price of apples, a 2.8% rise in the cost of citrus, an 8.9% increase in lettuce prices and a 2.6% increase in the cost of tomatoes.
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Beef prices fell 0.4% in November, while the cost of pork product waste 0.3% lower and the price of chicken dropped 0.8%.
Egg prices continued to rise in November, jumping 2.3% for the month and are up 49.1% over the past 12 months. Egg production has been hammered this year by an ongoing outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza.
Andy Harig, vice president of tax, trade, sustainability and policy development at FMI-The Food Industry Association, which represents major grocery chains, said the November CPI "demonstrates that food price inflation appears to be moderating off this summer’s peaks and moving in a positive direction for American consumers."
He said "the full scope of supply chain issues that caused food prices to rise will take time to recalibrate and work through the system, meaning food prices will likely remain higher than normal in the short-term even as inflationary pressures start to ease. An unprecedented collision of multiple factors – fuel costs, extreme weather, labor shortages, global conflict, and more – have contributed to food price inflation this year."
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