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USDA: Grocery food prices will increase in most categories in 2024

Supermarket News - 4/4/2024

The rate of food inflation for food at home is expected to slow as the year goes on, but prices in most categories will still rise. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released its forecast for 2024 that shows all food prices are expected to increase 2.5% while food-at-home prices are predicted to go up 1.6%. 

Between January and February, the Consumer Price Index for food at home rose just 0.1% and was still 1% higher than February 2023

Prices for eight food at-home categories increased between January 2024 and February 2024, dropped for six categories, and remained flat in one category.

Beef and veal prices were virtually unchanged while the cost of poultry and fish and seafood dropped 1.3% and 0.7%, respectively. It was the third straight month the price of fish and seafood decreased. 

Retail egg prices were up 8.4% in February 2024 but were still 17% below the cost a year ago when the egg-laying flock was significantly reduced. 

Prices rose by at least 0.5% in three other food categories last month: sugar and sweets (0.9%), cereals and bakery products (0.6%), and fats and oils (0.5%).

Beef and veal, eggs, and sugar and sweets are expected to increase the most in price for all of 2024. Sugar and sweets are forecasted to go up 5.8% while egg prices could increase as much as 4.7%. Beef and veal prices are projected to increase 2.7% this year. 

Cost increases are also expected for fats and oils (4.7%), cereal and bakery (1.3%), and poultry (0.5%). 

The price for fish and seafood, however, is expected to drop 1.7% in 2024.