ROME – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ (FAO) Food Price Index (FPI) averaged 179.4 points in February, down from 181.2 points in January and 208.6 points in February 2014. This represents a drop to a 55-month low, retreating 1 percent from January and 14 percent below its level one year earlier. Lower prices for meat, cereals and especially sugar more than offset an increase in milk and palm oil prices.

FAO's Food Price Index is a trade-weighted index that tracks prices of five major food commodity groups on international markets. It aggregates price sub-indices of cereals, meat, dairy products, vegetable oils and sugar. 

In February, the FAO Meat Price Index averaged 187.4 points, down 1.4 percent from its revised January value. Beef and mutton prices declined, largely due to a stronger US dollar against the Brazilian real and the Australian dollar. Pork prices increased for the first time in eight months, helped up by the European Union's decision to provide aid for private storage in the sector.

The Cereal Price Index averaged 171.7 points in February, down 3.2 percent from January, with booming prospects for wheat output explaining the bulk of the decline; rice prices were more stable; the Sugar Price Index averaged 207.1 points in February, down 4.9 percent from January, the sharpest move of any commodity; the Dairy Price Index rose for the first time in one year, averaging 181.8 points in February, representing a 4.6 percent increase from the previous month; and the  Vegetable Oil Price Index averaged 156.6 points, up 0.4 percent from January.

In 2014/15, 1.107 billion tonnes of cereals are forecast to be used globally for food consumption, resulting in a slight increase in average per capita intake to 153.3 kilograms. Cereals used for animal feed are predicted to grow by 4 percent and account for 877 million tonnes.