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Consumer Price Index shows highest produce inflation in 12 years

March 10, 2022 — The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.8 percent in February on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.6 percent in January, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 7.9 percent before seasonal adjustment.

Increases in the indexes for gasoline, shelter, and food were the largest contributors to the seasonally adjusted all items increase. The gasoline index rose 6.6 percent in February and accounted for almost a third of the all items monthly increase; other energy component indexes were mixed. The food index rose 1.0 percent as the food at home index rose 1.4 percent; both were the largest monthly increases since April 2020.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.5 percent in February following a 0.6-percent increase the prior month. The shelter index was by far the biggest factor in the increase, with a broad set of indexes also contributing, including those for recreation, household furnishings and operations, motor vehicle insurance, personal care, and airline fares.

The all items index rose 7.9 percent for the 12 months ending February. The 12-month increase has been steadily rising and is now the largest since the period ending January 1982. The all items less food and energy index rose 6.4 percent, the largest 12-month change since the period ending August 1982. The energy index rose 25.6 percent over the last year, and the food index increased 7.9 percent, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending July 1981.

Food

The food index increased 1.0 percent in February as the food at home index increased 1.4 percent over the month. All six major grocery store food group indexes increased in February.

The index for fruits and vegetables had the largest increase, rising 2.3 percent, its largest monthly increase since March 2010. The index for fresh fruits increased 3.7 percent over the month, and the index for fresh vegetables rose 1.3 percent.

The index for dairy and related products rose 1.9 percent, its largest monthly increase since April 2011. The index for nonalcoholic beverages increased 1.6 percent in February.

The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs increased 1.2 percent in February as all of its major component indexes increased. The index for cereals and bakery products rose 1.1 percent and the index for other food at home increased 0.8 percent over the month.

The food away from home index rose 0.4 percent in February after increasing 0.7 percent in January. The index for full service meals rose 0.6 percent and the index for limited service meals increased 0.3 percent.

The food at home index rose 8.6 percent over the last 12 months, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending April 1981. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs increased 13.0 percent over the last year as the index for beef rose 16.2 percent.

The other major grocery store food group indexes also rose over the past year, with increases ranging from 5.2 percent (dairy and related products) to 8.2 percent (other food at home).

The index for food away from home rose 6.8 percent over the last year, the largest 12-month increase since December 1981. The index for limited service meals rose 8.0 percent over the last 12 months, and the index for full service meals rose 7.5 percent. The index for food at employee sites and schools, in contrast, declined 40.7 percent over the past 12 months, reflecting widespread free lunch programs.