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Inflation Being Tamed, With Food Leading the Way

May 18, 2023
April’s Consumer Price Index rose 0.4% despite consecutive drops in food at home prices.

Inflation seems to be on the retreat, with the food & beverage categories helping to offset gains in other consumer categories. The April Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose just 0.4% on a seasonally adjusted basis, after increasing 0.1% in March. Over the past 12 months, the all-items index increased 4.9% before seasonal adjustment.

The index for shelter was the largest contributor to the monthly all items increase, according to figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, followed by increases in the index for used cars and trucks and the index for gasoline. The increase in the gasoline index more than offset declines in other energy component indexes, and the energy index rose 0.6% in April.

Food & beverage did its part to mitigate those increases. The overall food index was unchanged in April, as it was in March. The specific index for food at home fell 0.2% over the month, following a 0.3% decrease in March, while the index for food away from home rose 0.4%.

Four of the six major grocery store food group indexes decreased. Fruits and vegetables decreased 0.5% in April, meats, poultry, fish and eggs declined 0.3% and dairy and related products were down 0.7%. Milk fell 2.0%, the largest decline in that index since February 2015. The nonalcoholic beverages index declined 0.1% over the month.

The index for all items without food and energy – often broken out because they’re the most volatile categories – rose 0.4% in April, as it did in March. In addition to shelter, used cars and gasoline, indexes that increased in April included motor vehicle insurance, recreation, household furnishings and operations, and personal care. The index for airline fares and the index for new vehicles were among those that decreased over the month.

About the Author

Dave Fusaro | Editor in Chief

Dave Fusaro has served as editor in chief of Food Processing magazine since 2003. Dave has 30 years experience in food & beverage industry journalism and has won several national ASBPE writing awards for his Food Processing stories. Dave has been interviewed on CNN, quoted in national newspapers and he authored a 200-page market research report on the milk industry. Formerly an award-winning newspaper reporter who specialized in business writing, he holds a BA in journalism from Marquette University. Prior to joining Food Processing, Dave was Editor-In-Chief of Dairy Foods and was Managing Editor of Prepared Foods.

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