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U.S. Food Prices Climb

Washington Post writer Rachel Siegel reported last week that, “Prices rose at the fastest pace in nearly 40 years last month, increasing 6.8 percent over the same period a year ago, as inflation continues to squeeze households and businesses nationwide and complicates the political environment for Congress and the White House.

Consumer price index data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that prices rose 0.8 percent in November compared with October, with inflation spreading further throughout the economy, including to areas that had not been as affected by the coronavirus pandemic.”

The Post article stated that, “The broad-based increases span just about every sector, from pork, poultry and produce to housing and sporting goods.”

Ms. Siegel added that,

Federal data showed that prices for ‘food at home,’ namely groceries, were up 6.4 percent in the past year and that the cost of ‘food away from home’ climbed 5.8 percent.

Steak was up almost 25 percent compared with a year ago, and bacon 21 percent. Eggs were up 8 percent, apples 7.4 percent and flour roughly 6 percent.”

Consumer Price Index- November 2021. Bureau of Labor Statistics- U.S. Department of Labor (December 10, 2021).

And Bloomberg’s Mike Dorning reported last week that, “Prices for meat dishes that are traditional centerpieces of American meals are soaring, driving home the nation’s rising inflation rate and deepening discontent among voters.

Beef prices in November were up 20.9% from a year earlier, and those for roasts 26.4%, the Labor Department reported Friday. Pork rose 16.8%, and bacon 21%. Even more economical choices are surging, with chicken rising 9.2% and hamburger meat 13.9%. Overall, meat prices have risen 16% since a year ago.”

“Price Shock at Meat Counter Worsens U.S. Inflation Jitters,” by Mike Dorning. Bloomberg News (December 10, 2021).

The Bloomberg article stated that, “Soaring meat prices are ‘the result of corporate decisions to take advantage of their market power in an uncompetitive market, to the detriment of consumers, farmers and ranchers, and our economy,’ White House National Economic Council Director Brian Deese wrote in a White House blog post Friday. The companies’ profit margins ‘have skyrocketed since the pandemic,’ he said.”

Keith Good Photo

Keith Good is the Farm Policy News editor for the farmdoc project. He has previously worked for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, and compiled the daily News Summary from 2003-2015. He is a graduate of Purdue University (M.S.- Agricultural Economics), and Southern Illinois University School of Law.

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