Putting food on the kitchen table got more challenging for American households in September, inflation data released Wednesday showed.
The price of food at home jumped 1.2 percent in September, a historically huge gain for a single month and three times the inflation rate recorded in August. Compared with a year ago, the price of food at home is up 4.6 percent, the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index indicates.
The price hikes are not a reflection of what Fed officials have referred to as “base effects,” meaning data showing a large price jump due to depressed prices in the past. A year ago, prices were also rising quickly, with food at home showing a 4.1 percent increase. Compared with September of 2019, before the pandemic struck, prices of food at home are up 8.8 percent.
The price hikes were spread throughout the aisles of the grocery store, with all six major food group categories registering higher prices. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs rose 2.2 percent over the past month and 10.5 percent compared with a year ago. The index for fruits and vegetables rose 0.6 percent in September, a larger increase than the 0.2-percent increase reported in August, and is up three percent compared with a year ago. The index for cereals and bakery products rose 1.1 percent over the month and 2.7 percent over the past year.
Some of the biggest jumps on an annual basis:
- Ground beef: + 10.6 percent.
- Steaks: +22.1 percent.
- Bacon: +19.3 percent.
- Pork roasts, ribs, steaks: +19.2 percent.
- Chickens: +17.1 percent.
- Fresh fish: +10.7 percent.
- Eggs: +12.6 percent.
- Peanut Butter: +6.2 percent.
- Apples: + 7.8 percent.
- Ham: +7 percent.
- Baby food: +4.4 percent.
Taking the family out to eat also got more expensive. The indexes for restaurant meals, including full-service and fast-food eateries, rose 0.6 percent in September. The prices of full-service meals are up 5.2 percent compared with a year ago, while prices of limited-service meals—fast food places—are up 6.7 percent.