Summary findings USDA Food Price Outlook, 2022

US: Fresh vegetable prices now predicted to increase between 1.0 and 2.0 percent

The all-items Consumer Price Index (CPI), a measure of economy-wide inflation, increased by 0.9 percent from January 2022 to February 2022 before seasonal adjustment, up 7.9 percent from February 2021. The CPI for all food increased 1.0 percent from January 2022 to February 2022, and food prices were 7.9 percent higher than in February 2021.

The level of food price inflation varies depending on whether the food was purchased for consumption away from home or at home:

  • The food-away-from-home (restaurant purchases) CPI increased 0.4 percent in February 2022 and was 6.8 percent higher than January 2021;
  • The food-at-home (grocery store or supermarket food purchases) CPI increased 1.4 percent from January 2022 to February 2022 and was 8.6 percent higher than February 2021.

Food price increases are expected to be above the increases observed in 2020 and 2021. In 2022, food-at-home prices are predicted to increase between 3.0 and 4.0 percent, and food-away-from-home prices are predicted to increase between 5.5 and 6.5 percent. Price increases for food away from home are expected to exceed historical averages and the inflation rate in 2021.

CPI forecast changes this month
The ranges for 11 food categories, as well as 6 aggregate categories, were revised upward this month. Forecast ranges for the categories of other meats, poultry, eggs, dairy products, fats and oils, fresh fruits, processed fruits and vegetables, sugar and sweets, cereals and bakery products, non-alcoholic beverages, and other foods, as well as the aggregate categories of all food; food away from home; food at home; meats, poultry, and fish; fruits and vegetables; and fresh fruits and vegetables, were revised upward. Only the category of fresh vegetables was revised downward.

The large increases in all-food, food-away-from-home, and food-at-home prices in February 2022 followed similarly large changes in January. These aggregate price increases were the result of increases across many of the food categories rather than one or a few categories.

Fresh vegetable prices did not change in February 2022, which was slower than expected. Fresh vegetable prices are now predicted to increase between 1.0 and 2.0 percent, an adjustment downward from 1.5 to 2.5 percent.

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