Grocery prices will rise 7.8% this year, three times the usual pace for food inflation albeit slower than in 2022, said USDA economists in the monthly Food Price Outlook. The USDA said beef and pork prices would decline modestly while all other food categories would see increases.
“Beef and veal prices were predicted to decrease 1% in 2023 … and pork prices are predicted to decrease 0.8% in 2023,” wrote the economists. The red meats account for nearly one-tenth of consumer spending on groceries.
Price increases for other foods were forecast from 1% for fresh fruits and vegetables (a break from last year’s 7.5%) to 29.6% for eggs. This on top of a 32% price increase in 2022 that was blamed on outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza.
“Food prices are expected to grow more slowly in 2023 than in 2022 but still at above-historical rates,” said the USDA. Its forecast for grocery inflation, at 7.8%, was lower than the 11.4% rate of 2022; the 20-year average for grocery price increases is 2.5% a year. The USDA said overall food inflation, combining food at home and food away from home, would be 7.5% this year, down from 9.9% in 2022.