Food prices jumped 1.0% in March, the same amount as February, according to the most recent CPI report. This is the fifteenth consecutive month of food price increases.
Food at home
The food at home index went up by 1.5% in March, reflecting increases for all six major grocery store food group indexes. Other food at home showed the largest increase for the month at 2.0%. And the index for fruits and vegetables increased 1.5%, following a 2.3% increase in February.
Price changes for the other major grocery store groups included:
- Cereals and bakery products: +1.5% (+1.1% in February)
- Dairy and related products: +1.2% (+1.9% in February)
- Nonalcoholic beverages: +1.2% (+1.6% in February)
- Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs: +1.0% (+1.2% in February)
Over the past year, the food at home index has increased 10.0%, marking the index’s greatest 12-month increase since March 1981. All six of the major grocery store food group indexes rose over this time period, with increases ranging from 7.0% (dairy and related products) to 13.7% (meats, poultry, fish, and eggs).
Food away from home
The food away from home index went up 0.3% in March, following February’s 0.4% increase. The index for full service meals rose 0.7% (+0.6% in February), while the index for limited service meals declined 0.2% (+0.3% in February). This is the first decrease for limited service meals since October 2018.
The food away from home index has increased 6.9% over the past year, the group’s largest 12-month increase since December 1981. The index for full service meals rose 8.0% during this time period, and the index for limited service meals increased 7.2%.
Food at employee sites and schools continued its downward trend, declining 30.5%, as widespread free lunch programs continue.