Grocery prices remained unchanged in June, a trend that has held relatively steady since March, and are now 4.7% higher than they were a year ago—a significant dip from last year’s double-digit inflationary peak, according to Consumer Price Index (CPI) data released Wednesday.
Overall, consumer prices rose 0.2% in June, or 3% through the year, largely driven by increases in housing costs. This is the smallest 12-month price increase since the period ending March 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which compiles the CPI data.
Food prices, both grocery and restaurant, were up 0.1% in June, or 5.7% in the past 12 months, fueled by a 0.4% jump in restaurant prices in June. Restaurant prices are up 7.7% from a year ago.
Prices in many grocery departments declined in June, though fruit and vegetable prices increased 0.8% during the month, following a 1.3% increase in May, and cereals and bakery prices rose 0.1% in June.
Egg prices, though, were the big winner for shoppers, falling 7.3% in June after already dropping 13.8% in May. Egg prices had surged more than 225% in December compared to the year before because of high seasonal demand and an avian influenza outbreak.
Prices for meats, poultry, fish and eggs decreased 0.4% in June, while prices on dairy and dairy-related products dropped 0.3% during the month. Nonalchoholic beverage prices fell 0.1% in June.
In July 2022, grocery inflation peaked at 15.7% annually. The White House Council of Economic Advisors (CEA), in a blog post last month, proclaimed that “grocery inflation is finally showing signs of cooling.”
“Looking ahead, the CEA staff expect grocery inflation to continue improving alongside headline inflation but remain elevated relative to its prepandemic levels through the rest of 2023,” the CEO wrote. “While agricultural input and commodity prices have fallen, they are still elevated relative to their prepandemic levels. There are also other sources of grocery price pressure, including a robust labor market that is supporting higher wages for workers along the food supply chain. At the end of the day, the goal is to make grocery prices more affordable for households.”
The CPI measures the change in prices paid by consumers for goods and services, with prices collected monthly in 75 urban areas from about 22,000 retail establishments.