Grocery prices in January posted the largest one-month increase since September 2008, government data showed, signaling an end to last year’s food deflation. Four of the six grocery store food groups posted increases in January.
The food at home index rose 0.4 percent last month, following a 0.2 percent increase in December, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said in its monthly consumer price report today.
Food prices are rising as the U.S. economy recovers from recession and prices for some raw commodities such as milk and hogs bounce back from slumps in recent years.
Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Feb. 18 said food deflation pressures are abating, while food processors and distributors have recently said they expect higher prices in 2010.
“There is a feeling … of inflation to come in beef, pork, poultry and dairy, Ken Spitler, chief operating officer with Houston-based foodservice company Sysco Corp., said during a conference call.
Also on Feb. 18, Hormel Foods Corp., maker of Spam lunch meat and Dinty Moore stew, said it expects hog prices to continue rising this year.
During the past 12 months, average food at home prices fell 2 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Feb. 19.
The Consumer Price Index, which includes food as well as housing, clothing and other categories, rose 0.2 percent in January on a seasonally adjusted basis, the bureau said.
Excluding food and energy, the CPI fell 0.1 percent.