Consumer Price Index: You Paid More For Bacon in December, But Less for Fruits and Veggies

Close-up of fruits in shopping cart with couple using smart phone at grocery store.
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Food price inflation slowed in December 2022, although it continues to rise at a higher rate than most consumer goods, while prices of meat, poultry and eggs shot up for the month after declining in November.

Learn: What Does December’s Consumer Price Index Report Mean For You? Experts Weigh In
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Consumer Price Index: December Inflation By The Numbers

The food index increased 0.3% in December, according to the latest Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, which was released on Thursday, Jan. 12. That was down from a 0.5% gain the previous month but lagged behind the 0.1% decline in overall inflation. For the full year, food prices rose 10.4% vs. the overall inflation rate of 6.5%.

The latter figure was the lowest in more than a year, which could be a sign that the Federal Reserve’s series of interest-rate hikes might finally be contributing to cheaper consumer prices.

The food-at-home index rose 0.2% in December, down from a 0.5% gain in November and the smallest increase in at least seven months. On an annual basis, food-at-home prices climbed 11.8%. Most food-at-home categories saw no growth or price declines in December. For example, the price of cereals and bakery products was flat for the month. Prices for dairy and related product prices declined 0.3%, while the fruits and vegetables index fell 0.6%.

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However, those declines were offset by higher prices of meats, poultry, fish and eggs. This category saw a 1.0% jump in December after falling 0.2% in November. Much of the December increase was caused by the bird flu, which contributed to supply shortages and pushed up prices of chicken, turkey and eggs.

The food-away-from-home index climbed 0.4% in December, down slightly from a 0.5% gain in November. As with food at home, the food-away-from-home category notched its lowest increase since at least June 2022. Year-over-year, food-away-from-home prices climbed 8.3%.

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Despite the recent slowdown in food prices, groceries continue to be a money drain on American consumers. A recent analysis of more than 150,000 stores conducted by Datasembly found that grocery inflation came in at 16.3% in 2022, up from 6.2% in 2021 and 1.1% in 2020.

Frozen food reported the highest inflation rate at 21.3%, while alcohol had the lowest at 4.2%.

Among the states, these had the highest rates of grocery price inflation in 2022:

  • Connecticut and Louisiana: 19.5%
  • Idaho: 19.3%
  • Iowa: 19.2%
  • Mississippi: 19.0%
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The states with the lowest rate of grocery price inflation in 2022 were all on the East Coast and included Maryland (14.5%), North Carolina (14.6%), Pennsylvania (15.1%) and Maine (15.4%).

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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