U.S. food prices increased 0.3% in December, a drop from 0.5% in November, but are still 10.4% higher than a year ago at the same time.
The latest Consumer Price Index report showed three of the six major grocery store food group indexes increased over the month. Meats, poultry and fish increased 1%, with an 11.1% increase in the price of eggs, the supply of which was curtailed by an avian influenza outbreak in 2022.
Prices for nonalcoholic beverages rose 0.1% and prices for other foods rose 0.4%. Fruits and vegetables fell 0.6% in December, with fresh fruit declining 1.9%; dairy and related products decreased 0.3%; and the price for cereals and bakery products was unchanged.
Axios reported Dallas, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Baltimore are among the nation's hardest-hit cities regarding inflation's impact on food prices, with rates of 14.1%, 13.7%, and 13.5%, respectively. Food prices are up 7% in Washington, 7.7% in Chicago, and 8.8% in Miami.
The CPI report showed prices for cereals and bakery products are up 16.1% over the year. The remaining major grocery store food groups posted increases ranging from 7.7% (meats, poultry, fish and eggs) to 15.3% (dairy and related products).
Inflation is having a higher impact on those buying groceries for the home vs. costs incurred by restaurants. The food-at-home index rose 11.8% over the past 12 months, with prices for food away from home rising 8.3%.
Overall consumer prices dropped 0.1% in December, fueled by a sharp reduction in gas prices, which dropped 16.6% after a 19.8% increase in October and 1.7% increase in November. Overall, gas prices are down 1.5% from a year ago. AAA reports the average price for a gallon of gas is $3.50, which still is more than a dollar a gallon higher from when President Joe Biden took office in January 2021.
Energy prices rose 7.3% over the past 12 months, fuel oil prices rose 41.5%, electricity prices rose 14.3%, and natural gas prices jumped 19.3% over the same period.
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