Food prices up 2.4% in March

by Meat&Poultry staff
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FORT LEE, N.J. – Food prices in March increased 2.4%, which marks the sixth-consecutive monthly increase and the largest food-price increase in more than 26 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (B.L.S.) Producer Price Index (P.P.I.) report for March.

A major breakout in food inflation could be imminent, similar to what is currently being experienced in India, believes the National Inflation Association (N.I.A.).

Some of the food price increases on a year-over-year basis include pork, up 19.1%; beef and veal, up 10.7%; fresh and dry vegetables, up 56.1%; fresh fruits and melons, up 28.8%; eggs for fresh use, up 33.6%, and dairy products, up 9.7%. Last October, N.I.A. predicted inflation would appear next in food and agriculture, but it never anticipated it would spiral so far out of control this quickly, according to a news release.

The P.P.I. foreshadows price increases that will later occur in the retail sector N.I.A. warns. “With U-6 unemployment rising last month to 16.9%, many retailers are currently reluctant to pass along rising prices to consumers, but they will soon be forced to do so if they want to avoid reporting huge losses to shareholders,” the association said.

Although many financial experts are proclaiming the recession is over and inflation is not a problem in the U.S., rising food and gasoline prices accounted for 58% of February's year-over-year 3.85% rise in retail sales, N.I.A. said. The association believes price inflation is beginning to accelerate in many areas of the economy besides food and energy, and all increases in U.S. retail sales this year will be entirely due to inflation.

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