Fresh Food

Another Record-Breaking Month for Wholesale Prices

Wholesale prices in several food categories retreated modestly in July but remain well above year-ago levels
Chicken farm
Photograph: Shutterstock

Producer prices rose 7.8% year over year in July, easily hurdling the 7.3% 12-month jump recorded in June and the 6.6% climb recorded in May, making three straight months of record-breaking price increases.

Higher prices for automobiles, auto parts and airline travel services accounted for a big portion of July's wholesale price increases, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' monthly producer price index; prices for both unprocessed and processed foods actually declined from June. However, wholesale food prices remain significantly higher on a year-over-year basis: Unprocessed foods and feedstuffs prices are 33.8% higher than in July 2020, and processed food prices are 13.7% higher. 

Beef and veal wholesale prices retreated in July, sliding 11.6% vs. the month prior, but prices remain 40.3% above July 2020 levels. Chicken and pork prices also fell in July but are up 27.9% and 34%, respectively, from a year ago.

At retail, in comparison, protein prices climbed for a seventh straight month in July, according to the bureau's monthly consumer price index, released Aug. 11. The month-to-month and year-over-year swings weren't as dramatic, though: Consumers last month paid 6.5% more for beef and 5.2% more for chicken, for example, than they did in July 2020.

Producer prices for fresh fruit were down 4.4% in July from June and 5.1% from a year ago. Fresh vegetable prices retreated 2.7% from June and are down 17.3% from July 2020. Prices for both grains and oilseeds declined for a second consecutive month but remain markedly above July 2020 levels—87% and nearly 63%, respectively. Wholesale egg prices climbed 19.5% and are up 20.2% year over year.



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