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American consumers celebrate first calendar year drop in food prices in 50 years

This news story was published on March 29, 2017.
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – For the first time in 50 years, American consumers can celebrate a drop in food prices over a calendar year.

The United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service reports that food-at-home prices declined overall in 2016, falling 1.3 percent below 2015 levels. This marks the first annual decline in supermarket prices since 1967. Looking at specific retail food categories, prices declined 21.1 percent for eggs, 6.3 percent for beef and veal, 4.1 percent for pork, and 2.3 percent for dairy and related products. However, not all foods declined in price—fresh fruit prices rose 2.2 percent and other foods rose 0.3 percent compared with 2015 prices.

The overall decline in retail food prices was due to several factors: increased production for many commodities, lower transportation costs as a result of deflated oil prices, and a strong U.S. dollar. A strong dollar affects domestic prices as it makes U.S. goods less desirable to foreign markets, leaving more potential exports on the domestic market.

Wendy’s restaurant in Mason City, Iowa

While food-at-home prices declined in 2016, prices for food away from home increased 2.6 percent. Restaurant prices have been rising consistently month-over-month due, in part, to differences in the cost structure of restaurants versus supermarkets or grocery stores. Restaurant prices primarily comprise labor and rental costs with only a small portion going toward food. For this reason, decreasing farm-level and wholesale food prices have had less of an impact on restaurant menu prices.

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6 Responses to American consumers celebrate first calendar year drop in food prices in 50 years

  1. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 30, 2017 at 2:35 am

    hyvee is real good at its advertising. $5.99 for a 8 oz ribeye, sounds good but that’s $12.00 a pound. can get much cheaper at fareway. got to watch them ads what sounds to good to be true usually is

  2. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 29, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    celebrate??? im tired of getting bent over and celebrating by our government. at election time its time to change the “guard”

  3. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 29, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    another ploy by the government, when it comes time for a COLO for social security they can say NO raise cost of living went down this year. sick of it

  4. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 29, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    who they trying to shiten my groceries are more now then ever. only that happened was sugar went from 5lbs to 4 lbs. another government wool to pull over our eyes.

  5. Avatar

    Carly Reply Report comment

    March 29, 2017 at 5:41 pm

    The only thing I have noticed in regards to food prices and other supplies needed for everyday life is a decline in packaging size to make you think you are getting a good deal. If prices have gone down, so has the amount you are buying so we all still lose.

    • Avatar

      Consumer Reply Report comment

      March 29, 2017 at 6:14 pm

      Excellent observation Carly. Read the fine print, especially when shopping the weekly specials. Pork chops @ $.99 a piece sound like a bargan until you figure out that the serving size is 6 oz. The math tells you its not such a good after all. And ingredients matter too. They all do it, grocers, restaurants, wholesalers and retailers, all other goods and services.