In updated figures released last week, USDA officials forecast that the consumer-price index for food will increase only 0.5 percent to 1.5 percent this year. That’s the lowest annual inflation rate since 1992, according to USDA.

Grocery store (food-at-home) prices should also rise between 0.5 percent and 1.5 percent, notes the agency. Mean while, restaurant (food-away-from-home) prices will see a predicted increase of between 1 percent and 2 percent.

Beef prices went down 0.2 percent in July 2010 from June, but remain 6.7 percent higher than they were in July 2009.  Steak prices are 4.2 percent higher than they were a year ago and ground beef is up 8.2 percent.

Pork prices rose 1.6 percent in July from June, putting them 6 percent above July 2009 figures. USDA revised last month’s forecasts for pork’s 2010 consumer-price index; it is now anticipated to increase between 3 percent and 4 percent.

Poultry prices rose 0.6 percent in July from June, leaving them 1 percent over July 2009 levels.

Source: USDA, Meatingplace.com