US food prices set to rise

27 August 2009

NEW YORK: After several months of lower US food prices, the cost of beef, milk, eggs and other basic grocery items is set to edge upwards, according to an Agriculture Department forecast.

It believes that the price of what it calls “food at home” - a category that includes purchases at grocery stores, convenience stores and farmers' markets - will rise by up to 3% this year in line with improvements in the economy. 
US supermarkets such as Wal-Mart have attempted to peg their prices in recent weeks in a bid to maintain customer loyalty, but this is unlikely to last.

Last month, grocery prices decreased by 0.5% in July, relieving pressure on consumers. Beef prices fell by 2.3%, while egg prices dipped by 2.7%.

In contrast, the price of carbonated drinks, breakfast cereals and sugar rose significantly.

"The impact of lower energy prices on grocery store prices has largely been played out, and so we're now looking at grocery store prices to rise modestly through the end of the year,” said Mark Vitner, a managing director and senior economist at Wells Fargo.

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff