Putting food on the kitchen table has become much more expensive, squeezing household budgets at a time when many families are already stressed by the Delta variant surge hitting as kids go back to school.
Food prices rose a full percentage point in August, up from six-tenths of a point in July, defying predictions that inflation would cool off, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed Friday. Compared with a year ago, food prices are up 12.7 percent, outpacing the overall increase of 8.3 percent in the Producer Price Index.
On an annual basis, that is the highest level of food inflation in records that go back to 2010. The monthly figure is the third-highest on record, following May 2020’s pantry-raid that emptied many grocery store shelves and February 2011.
Prices of some staples have been driven sky-high. Some of the truly startling annual numbers from Friday’s Producer Price Index:
- Beef and Veal: +59.2 percent
- Pork: +34.1 percent
- Chickens: +32 percent
- Fish: +18 percent
- Turkey: +41.4 percent
- Fresh eggs: +31.7 percent
Shortening and cooking oils are up a jaw dropping 43.5 percent.
Not all food prices are up, of course. Dairy prices are down. Fresh fruits and vegetable prices have fallen (although canned fruits and vegetable prices are up).
Grain prices are up an incredible 98 percent, although that largely reflects the plunge in global demand last year combined with a surge this year.