Food prices nudging higher

The November Consumer Price Index for food increased 0.1 percent from October but is running 4.6 percent above a year ago. USDA reports the price for food in the grocery store is 5.9 percent higher than November of 2010 while food prices in restaurants are 2.9 percent higher.

Beef prices are 9.8 percent above year-ago level, pork is up 6.9 percent while poultry is 3 percent higher. Eggs are 10.2 percent higher than last November. Fish and seafood prices are up 5.9 percent and dairy prices are 8.7 percent above November, 2010. Fresh fruit is up 2.6 percent and fresh vegetables are 3.4 percent higher compared to a year ago. Cereal and bakery products are up 6.2 percent.

With eleven months worth of data collected, the USDA says the Consumer Food Price Index will increase 3.25 to 3.75 percent this year. Food prices at the grocery store will increase 4.25 to 4.75 percent while food at restaurants will be 2 to 2.5 percent higher than a year ago.

Projections are food prices will increase less in 2012, the total CPI for food is estimated to increase 2.5 to 3.5 percent, at-home food prices will increase 3 to 4 percent while food-away-from-home prices will increase 2 to 3 percent next year. The forecasters do note the price projections do hinge on the cost of fuel and the dollar.

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