Jan. 5, 2015
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, overall increases in U.S. food prices will be lower this year compared to 2014. Consumers are already paying less for sugar, oils, nonalcoholic beverages and some meats.
The average annual increase in retail food prices since 1994 has been 2.6 percent. USDA economists estimate that food price inflation could be as low as 2 percent during the next 12 months. This forecast assumes an absence of severe weather events.
Prices for fruits and vegetables will range from 2.5 to 3.5 percent higher this year. A major factor influencing fruit prices is the decline in Florida’s citrus crop because of greening disease. The USDA has estimated that production in the state’s 2014-2015 season will be slightly higher than the figure for last year, but less than half that picked in 1996-1997.
The agency’s Food Price Outlook is available at http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-price-outlook.aspx.