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Holiday food prices projected up 7% from last year, 18% from two years ago

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IDAHO FALLS, Idaho, Dec. 19, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — National supermarket data confirms slower food price inflation with consumers seeing smaller price increases when shopping for 2023 Christmas meals. According to a data analysis and forecast prepared by Category Partners, the price of purchasing Christmas dinner at a supermarket will be approximately 7% higher than in 2022. The forecast was derived using supermarket sales data provided by NielsenIQ collected from more than 35,000 food stores in the United States.

The data analysis shows that a basic Christmas dinner in 2023 purchased from a supermarket for a family of four will cost approximately $50.56, compared to $47.25 in 2022. However, even with slower price inflation, prices remain 18.5% higher than at Christmas 2021.

To forecast the average Christmas dinner pricing, Category Partners utilized the NielsenIQ supermarket data for the most recent 52 and four week periods through December 2, 2023. Historical price changes between Thanksgiving and Christmas were used to forecast price trends. A “sample” meal was then priced utilizing historical data. The sample meal projected the cost of purchasing a meal from a supermarket for a family of four including dinner rolls, salad with dressing, potatoes, beans, stuffing, ham and store made pie.

“Slowing food price inflation across the supermarket is good news for consumers,” said Tom Barnes, CEO of Category Partners. “The data confirms that while prices remain elevated the alarming food price inflation we saw two years ago has moderated.”

According to Barnes, the national NielsenIQ supermarket data shows that for the total supermarket prices this year are up 6.6%. However, price increases vary significantly by supermarket department. Seafood (-1.7%), produce (+2.2%) and meat (+2.4%) have had negative or slower than average price inflation over the past year while grocery prices (+10.5%) and Bakery (+9.5%) show higher than average price inflation.

“Consumers should be pleasantly surprised this season when shopping for their holiday meals in most of the fresh departments at their local supermarkets. Inflation is a constant concern as consumers try to make ends meet. The slower than average inflation in the produce, meat and seafood departments means consumers could be a little more merry this season.” said Barnes.

Barnes stated further that the best way for consumers to navigate food inflation is to be selective when deciding specific items to include in their Christmas meal plans. “Price increases vary dramatically by item and consumers can reduce holiday food costs by being flexible. For example, the average price per pound for beef steak is $9.43 per pound, up 6.8% compared to last year. Comparatively, the price for beef brisket is $4.52, down -1.0% from last year. A consumer could also opt for ham which on average sells for $2.42 per pound or Turkey at $2.96 per pound.

Price Inflation – 52 weeks by Supermarket Department–% Price Change vs. Last Year

GROCERY                             10.5 %
BAKERY                                 9.5 %
FROZEN                                 7.8 %
DAIRY                                   6.9 %
FLORAL                             5.0 %
DELI                                   5.0 %
MEAT                             2.4 %
PRODUCE                   2.2 %
SEAFOOD               -1.7 %
Source: Category Partners powered by NielsenIQ, total US supermarket database, 52 weeks through 12/2/2023

About Category Partners Category Partners was founded in 2008 to support producers and marketers in fresh food industries through business and consumer insights. CP’s core capabilities include data integration and visualization, technology solutions, analytical and business consulting services as well as consumer and market research. Category Partners is headquartered in Idaho Falls, ID with offices in Chicago, IL., and Wenatchee, WA.