Year-over-year retail food price increases continue to be tame and more of the same is expected for 2020.
The latest government forecast for 2020 retail food prices calls for low inflation at supermarkets and food stores.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service Food Price report said that 2019 retail food price inflation is expected to be in a range from 0.5% to 1.5%.
That, the agency said, would make 2019 the fourth straight year of deflating or lower-than-average food inflation at retail. Over the past 20 years, retail food inflation has averaged about 2% per year, according to the USDA.
Commodities with lower prices this year, according to the USDA report, include poultry, eggs, fats and oils, and fresh fruits. On the other hand, fresh vegetables in 2019 are projected to increase at inflation rates greater than the 20-historical average, according to the report.
Looking ahead to next year, USDA economists predict low retail food inflation will continue.
“In 2020, food-at-home prices are expected to increase in a range between 0.5% and 1.5%, as potentially the fifth year in a row with deflating or lower-than-average inflating retail food prices,” the agency said.
Retail fresh fruit inflation is forecast at -1.5% to -0.5% in 2019 and 1% to 2% in 2020. Retail fresh vegetable prices are pegged to jump 3% to 4% in 2019 but change just zero to 1% in 2020.
Restaurant food prices have increased at a faster rate than supermarket food in recent years; the USDA projects food-away-from-home inflation at 2% to 3% for both 2019 and 2020.