Food prices higher in 2012, but not for all categories

A chart showing the differences in prices for selected products.

For most food categories and for food at home in general, prices in the first quarter of 2012 were higher than they were a year ago. Consumers faced 4.5 percent higher food prices on average at the grocery store in January-March 2012, compared to January-March 2011. Fats and oils prices were 11.3 percent higher in first quarter 2012 versus first quarter 2011, and beef prices were 8.5 percent higher. However, the warm 2011-12 winter and favorable growing conditions resulted in a year-over-year decrease in produce prices for the first quarter of 2012, with fruit prices down 1.1 percent and vegetable prices down 7.4 percent. More information on food price changes and forecasts can be found in the Food Price Outlook data product on the ERS website, updated June 25, 2012.

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