WASHINGTON – The Consumer Price Index for food and beverages remained steady in March, finishing at 236.26, up narrowly from 236.23 in February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor. The food index also was unchanged, ending at 236.33 in March, which compared with 236.30 in February.

The index for meats, poultry, fish and eggs was unchanged, while the indexes for cereals and bakery products and for other food at home both increased 0.2 percent in March.

Within food at home, three of the six major grocery store food group indexes decreased in March, led by dairy and related products, which fell 0.6 percent in March after a 0.4 percent decline in February.
Also finishing lower in March was the index for fruits and vegetables, which fell 0.4 percent after rising 1.4 percent in February.

The index for nonalcoholic beverages declined 0.2 percent during March. The index was flat in February.
Over the past 12 months, the food at home index has risen 1 percent, led by a 4.4 percent increase in the fruits and vegetables index.

The overall Consumer Price Index, which advanced 0.7 percent in February, fell 0.2 percent in March. Over the past 12 months, the index increased 1.5 percent.