WASHINGTON – The Consumer Price Index for food and beverages increased 0.1 percent in February, climbing to 232.2 from 232.1 in January, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor. The gain followed increases of 0.2 percent in both January and December.
The food index was flat in February after rising 0.2 percent in both January and December.
The index for meats, poultry, fish and eggs fell 0.2 percent to 229.1.
The only major grocery store food group indexes to rise were cereals and bakery products and other food at home. Other food at home was the big mover, rising 0.4 percent to 203.8, while cereals and bakery products advanced 0.2 percent to 267.6.
The food-at-home index was unchanged at 230.8 for the second consecutive month. Within the food-at-home group, the indexes for fruits and vegetables continued to decline, falling 0.5 percent to 278.3. The index for fresh fruits rose 1.3 percent, but the fresh vegetables index fell 3.5 percent, its fifth straight month of declines.
The index for dairy and related products, which rose 0.9 percent in January, fell 0.5 percent in February.
Meanwhile, the index for nonalcoholic beverages, which eased 0.3 percent in January, was unchanged in February.
The overall Consumer Price Index increased 0.4 percent in February, which followed a gain of 0.2 percent in January. The index now has increased 2.9 percent over the past 12 months.