WASHINGTON – In 2011, retail poultry prices are expected to be 2.5% to 3.5% higher than last year due in part to rising commodity prices and input costs that have increased over the past eight months. These were among the factors considered in the US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS). forecast for meat and poultry.

ERS stated in its recent analysis and forecast of the consumer price index (CPI) for food that the CPI for poultry in 2008 was up 5.0%, up 1.7% in 2009 but decreased 0.1% in 2010, the March 4 edition of the National Chicken Council’s Washington Report stated.

ERS predicted a 3.5% to 4.5% hike in the CPI for beef in 2011, even though the January 2011 CPI was 9.7% higher than January 2010. ERS forecasts an increase in the CPI for pork of 5.5% to 6.5% this year. The CPI for pork was 9.9% higher in January than the CPI a year earlier. The CPI for all meats in 2011 is expected to climb between 4.0%-5.0. In January, the CPI for all meats was 8.4% above the figure for January 2010, ERS said.

ERS forecasts for “all food,” “food away from home” and “food at home” are the same for 2011 as they were for last year – a 3.0% to 4.0% increase.

Food price inflation was fairly weak during most of 2009 and 2010, but higher food commodity and energy prices have recently exerted pressure on wholesale and retail food prices, ERS pointed out. Combining cost pressures with the strengthening global food demand, inflation projections have been pushed upward for this year. Between 2009 and 2010, the all-food CPI increased 0.8%, which is the lowest food inflation rate since 1962.

Food-at-home prices increased 0.3%, which is the lowest annual increase since 1967. Cereal and bakery prices dropped 0.8% and processed fruit and vegetable prices dropped 1.3%. Food-away-from-home prices increased 1.3% last year, which ERS said was the lowest annual increase for restaurant prices since 1955.