The all-items Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures overall price changes across seven major household spending categories: housing, transportation, food, medical care, apparel, recreation, and education and communication.

Typically, food price inflation moves in the same direction as economy-wide inflation, but their magnitudes may differ. In 7 of the last 9 years, for example, food price inflation was higher than economy-wide inflation. In 2007 and 2008, food prices rose at above-average rates due to high prices for farm-level rice, grains, and oilseeds. The 2007-09 recession put downward pressure on prices for many goods and services in 2009, but had a larger impact on housing and transportation than food.

One of the largest differences in inflation among the two categories occurred in 2015. Food prices increased 1.9 percent, whereas lower oil prices caused transportation prices to fall by 7.8 percent—which contributed to economy-wide inflation of just 0.1 percent that year.

Source: USDA