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After months of climbing, food inflation reaches 6.3%

Meat prices fell in the final weeks of 2021, but food inflation climbed again, to an annual rate of 6.3%, said the Labor Department on Wednesday. The overall U.S. inflation rate of 7% for the past 12 months was the highest since June 1982.

The annualized food inflation rate has been on the rise since last June, when it was 2.4%. Persistently high meat prices have been a leading factor. “The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs declined in December, falling 0.4% after rising at least 0.7% in each of the last seven months,” said the Consumer Price Index report. “The indexes for beef (-2.0%) and pork (-0.8%) declined after recent sharp increases.”

The food inflation rate climbed 0.2 points from the November rate of 6.3%. Grocery prices were up 6.5% for the year, more than four times the usual rate of 1.5%. “By far the largest increase was that of the index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs, which rose 12.5% over the year despite falling in December,” said the Labor Department. The price of food away from home, which includes restaurant meals, takeout food, and cafeteria dining at work and school, was up 6% for the year.

The CPI report was available here.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
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