At-Home Food Costs Moderate

May 2, 2019

During the past decade, decreasing farm gate and wholesale food prices have moderated grocery store prices for virtually all food groups, according to the USDA’s Economic Research Service.

In 2018 retail food prices rose 0.4%. This was the first increase in three years. Although prices for pork, other meats, dairy, and processed fruits and vegetables declined between 2017 and 2018, prices for all other major food categories increased. Eggs saw the largest annual average increase at 10.8 percent.

For 2019 the agency predicts grocery store prices will increase at an average below 1.5% or substantially less than the economy’s rate of inflation.

By contrast, restaurant prices primarily comprise labor and rental costs with only a small portion going toward food. Decreasing farm-level and wholesale food prices, which have exerted downward pressure on food-at-home prices, will have less of an impact on restaurant menu prices.

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