WASHINGTON – The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for food and beverages was virtually unchanged in September, finishing at 237.444, which compared with 237.348 in August, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor. The index had increased in each of the past three months. The food index inched up only narrowly in September, finishing at 237.5, up from 237.4 in August.

Within food at home, four of the six major grocery store food group indexes increased in September.

The indexes for meats, poultry, fish and eggs and for dairy and related products both increased 0.1 percent. Meanwhile, the index for other food at home rose 0.4 percent in September after declining in August, while the index for cereals and bakery products increased 0.2 percent.

The index for fruits and vegetables, which had been trending upward, fell 0.9 percent in September, as the fresh vegetables index fell 1.4 percent during the month.

The index for non-alcoholic beverages declined for the third month in a row, falling 0.2 percent.
The food at home index was unchanged in September, but over the past 12 months has increased 1 percent, the BLS said.

The overall CPI advanced for the fifth consecutive month, increasing 0.2 percent in September after rising 0.1 percent in August. Over the past 12 months, the index has increased 1.2 percent.