Retailers

Grocery Inflation Rose Even Further in April

Food-at-home prices rose 10.8% year over year in April, a 41-year high
Photograph: Shutterstock

It's still hot in here: Inflation watchers looking for a break in April got one, finally, but it wasn't as large as hoped.

Consumer prices rose 8.3% year over year in April after climbing 8.5% on a 12-month basis in March, according to the April consumer price index report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wall Street had estimated the deceleration to come in at 8.1%.

Moreover, even as price hikes in other sectors eased a bit, grocery inflation hit another 40-plus-year high in April, reaching 10.8% year over year after hitting 10% in March. Food-at-home's 10.8% spike last month is the largest year-over-year increase in grocery prices since November 1980. The index for meat, poultry, fish and eggs rose 14.3% vs. the year-ago period, a level not seen since May 1979, according to the BLS.

Price increases were seen across the grocery store once again, with spikes ranging from 7.8% for fruits and vegetables to 11% for other food at home. 

Baby food saw prices climb 13% year over year. Chicken prices accelerated further in April, with inflation reaching 16.4% year over year after clocking in around 13% the past two months. Prices for breakfast cereal were up 12.1%; coffee prices were up 13.5%; and egg prices climbed 22.6%.

Additional notable grocery gainers in April:

  • Bread (prices up 9.1% year over year, and up 2% month to month)
  • Butter/margarine (up 19.2% year over year)
  • Canned vegetables (up 11.4% year over year)
  • Frozen and freeze-dried prepared foods (14.2%)
  • Citrus fruits (18.6%)
  • Milk (14.7%)

Inflation for food away from home (restaurants and other foodservice venues) came in lower, at 7.2% year over year in April. That included an 8.7% increase in prices for full-service meals and a 7% hike in prices for limited-service meals. 

Sectors contributing to the slight slowdown in inflation in April included gasoline (down 6.1% month to month but up nearly 44% year over year), apparel and used cars/trucks. Most sectors, including housing, hotels, medical care, personal care and airfare, continued to see prices rise in April. Airline fares saw their biggest month-to-month increase, 18.6%, since 1963.

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