Meat & Livestock News

Food Prices Set to Slow Down in 2024

TL;DR: USDA expects food prices to rise by 2.5% in 2024, with dining-out costs increasing more than groceries.

The USDA forecasts a drop in food prices this year, marking a change from recent trends. After minor increases early in 2024, all food prices are expected to rise by about 2.5%.

The Consumer Price Index for food nudged up 0.1% from January to February, with a 2.2% increase compared to last February. The rate of price inflation varies depending on the food’s purchase location – at home or eating out. Prices for store-bought food went up slightly by 0.1% from January to February 2024, and restaurant food prices also saw a small 0.1% rise in February. Year-over-year, store-bought food prices were 1.0% higher, and restaurant food prices were 4.5% higher.

Expectations for 2024 suggest a 1.6% rise in food-at-home prices and a 4.1% increase in food-away-from-home prices.

Historically, the prices of both food types rose at similar rates until 2009, when their growth rates began to diverge. Food-at-home prices even dropped in 2016 and 2017, while food-away-from-home prices have consistently climbed. The disparity is partly due to the higher cost of preparing and serving food in restaurants and grocery stores.