Supermarket prices ticked up 0.3% last month, driven by a jump in the cost of beef as well as increases for some fruits, vegetables and dairy products, according to the monthly Consumer Price Index.

The CPI for food eaten at home was unchanged in June and had risen just 0.1% in May.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday that the overall CPI rose 0.2% in July, largely because of a 7.7% increase in the cost of housing, and is up 3.2% over the past 12 month. Grocery prices are 3.6% higher than they were in July 2022.  

A 2.4% increase in beef prices last month offset declines in the cost of poultry and eggs. Pork prices were unchanged. Beef prices are up 5.3% year over year. A reduction in U.S. cattle supplies has been pushing up cattle and retail beef prices in recent months. 

A recent analysis by the American Farm Bureau Federation said domestic beef demand “remains impressive considering the average price of all uncooked ground beef is at a record level of $4.86 per pound.” U.S. beef production is estimated at 58 pounds per person this year, down 1.5% from 2022.

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In other major food categories, the cost of dairy products rose 0.5% last month, on higher costs for cheese and ice cream, while prices for cereal and dairy products were unchanged in July. 

Prices for fruits and vegetables increased 0.4%, driven in part by a 2.4% rise in the price of fresh apples, a 1.6% increase in the price of oranges, and a 0.7% increase in the cost of potatoes. 

USDA’s Economic Research Service is projecting that supermarket prices will wind up being 5.8% higher in 2023 than they were in 2022. 

President Joe Biden said in a statement that the latest CPI shows the U.S. economy "remains strong." 

"Annual inflation has fallen by around two thirds since last summer, and inflation outside of food and energy has fallen to its lowest level in any three-month period since September 2021," he said. 

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