Inflation is Forecast to Stay Below Trend for Retail Food

Inflation is Forecast to Stay Below Trend for Retail Food

Retail food price increases are expected to remain low at supermarkets and food stores for 2020, according to the latest USDA’s Economic Research Service Food Price report. Inflation is expected to be in a range from 0.5 to 1.5 percent.

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 percent per year.

Commodities with lower prices this year, range from poultry, to 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.

For the year 2021, 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 percent and 1.5 percent, 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 percent in 2019 and 1 to 2 percent in 2020. Retail fresh vegetable prices are pegged to jump 3 to 4 percent in 2019, but change just zero to 1 percent 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 percent for both 2019 and 2020.