Food Price Outlook
Note: The Food Price Outlook data series and forecasting methodology were revised in January 2023 as described below. Forecasts using the prior forecasting methodology remain available as data files (“Legacy Data”). USDA, ERS will continue to produce new monthly forecasts using both the updated methods and the legacy methods through June 2023.
The USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) Food Price Outlook (FPO) provides data on food prices and forecasts annual food price changes up to 18 months in the future. On a monthly basis, ERS forecasts the annual percentage change in food prices for the current year and, beginning in July each year, for the following year. These forecasts are primarily based on the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Producer Price Index (PPI) data. ERS typically releases its monthly update on the 25th of the month; however, if the 25th falls on a weekend or a holiday, the monthly update will be published earlier.
The all-items CPI measures the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers for a representative market basket of consumer goods and services. The CPI for food is the component of the all-items CPI that measures the changes in the retail prices of food items. At ERS, work on the CPI for food consists of several activities. ERS analyzes the current index level for food, examines changes in the CPI for food, and constructs forecasts of the CPI for food. Forecasting the CPI for food has become increasingly important due to the changing structure of food and agricultural economies and the important signals the forecasts provide to farmers, processors, wholesalers, consumers, and policymakers.
ERS also analyzes and forecasts the PPI for farm-level agricultural and wholesale food markets. Like a CPI, the PPI measures price changes over time; however, instead of measuring changes in retail prices, the PPI measures the average change in prices paid to domestic producers for their output. The PPI collects data for nearly every industry in the goods-producing sector of the economy. Changes in farm-level and wholesale-level food PPIs are of particular interest in forecasting food CPIs.
In January 2023, ERS introduced a revised price forecasting methodology for the Food Price Outlook. The Consumer Price Index, Producer Price Index, and Historical Data files in the table below—as well as the Summary Findings—are constructed based off the revised methodology. See ERS's report on price forecasting methodology (August 2022):Time-Series Methods for Forecasting and Modeling Uncertainty in the Food Price Outlook
In addition to the current monthly forecasts, ERS also constructed historical CPI and PPI forecasts, based on the revised forecast methods. The historical forecast series show the point estimates and prediction intervals that would have been produced in each month based on available data at the time. The table below includes these data under “Historical Data”, with CPI and PPI prediction intervals from 2003 forward to match the length of the published legacy CPI historical series. Beginning with January 2023, the historical series contain actual forecast data published by ERS.
Forecasts produced using legacy forecasting methodologies are also available as data files in the table below (“Legacy Data”). Through June 2023, ERS will continue to produce new monthly forecasts based on the legacy methods used since 2011. In July 2023, the legacy forecasting methodology will be discontinued, but historical data files will remain available.
See ERS's report on the legacy price forecasting methodology used since 2011 (May 2015):How USDA Forecasts Retail Food Price Inflation
Data Training Webinar: ERS economists Matthew MacLachlan and Megan Sweitzer provide an overview of the data and analysis available from the Food Price Outlook data product, highlight its uses, and demonstrate how to find the data.
Note: The data file "Changes in Food Price Indexes, legacy data, 2020 through 2023" was relabeled to "Changes in Consumer Price Indexes, legacy data, 2020 through 2023" in February 2023.
|Data Set||Last Updated||Next Update|
|Consumer Price Index|
|Changes in Consumer Price Indexes, 2020 through 2023||5/25/2023||6/23/2023|
|Annual percent changes in selected Consumer Price Indexes, 1974 through 2022||5/25/2023||5/24/2024|
|Producer Price Index|
|Changes in Producer Price Indexes, 2020 through 2023||5/25/2023||6/23/2023|
|Annual percent changes in selected Producer Price Indexes, 1974 through 2022||5/25/2023||5/24/2024|
|Historical Consumer Price Index (CPI) forecasts||5/25/2023||6/23/2023|
|Historical Producer Price Index (PPI) forecasts||5/25/2023||6/23/2023|
|Changes in Consumer Price Indexes, legacy data, 2020 through 2023||5/25/2023||6/23/2023|
|Historical Consumer Price Index (CPI) forecasts, legacy data||5/25/2023||6/23/2023|
|Changes in Producer Price Indexes, legacy data, 2020 through 2023||5/25/2023||6/23/2023|
|Historical Producer Price Index (PPI) forecasts, legacy data||5/25/2023||6/23/2023|