Though Inflation Is Slowing Food Prices Continue To Climb

Rising inflation has prompted major concern among shoppers worldwide, as the cost of groceries, rent, and other goods have skyrocketed over the past few months. But according to a recent report from the Labor Department, per the Associated Press, the inflation rate actually slowed in April — and yet, the price of food has continued to climb.

From March to April of this year, the producer price index (or PPI), which helps measure pre-consumer inflation, increased by 0.5%. This increase is a smaller jump than what was seen last month: from February to March, the PPI rose by 1.6%. In fact, the 0.5% rise from March to April marks the smallest increase in seven months, which many are hoping is a sign that inflation may be finally returning to normal levels.

The year-to-year statistics also suggest a move in the right direction: As the AP reported, the PPI increased by 11% from April 2021 to April 2022. While certainly high, this number marks a 0.5% drop from last month, which saw an annual gain of 11.5%.

However, despite these signs of slowing inflation, consumer prices are still rising. According to the Consumer Price Index, released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, food prices saw an increase of 0.9% this last month — marking the seventeenth month in a row that food prices have gone up. This was a small respite from March's gain, which was 1%. Notably, the price of food away from home (or meals from restaurants) rose by twice as much in April as it had in March.

Why food prices are still rising

According to CNN, food prices are expected to remain high despite slowing inflation due to several factors, including Russia's invasion of Ukraine (the two countries are responsible for 14% of the world's wheat production, reports the news outlet), the slowdown of deliveries at the Texas border following Texas Governor Greg Abbott's call for "enhanced safety inspections" of commercial trucks, and the avian flu that's affected the country's egg supply.

Specific categories saw especially dramatic price increases. The Bureau of Labor Statistics report shares the cost of eggs increased 10.3% in the month of April and dairy 2.5%, which the report says represents the "largest monthly increase since July 2007" for the category.

Despite the sharply rising costs of many foods, there were a handful of prices that actually lowered. According to CNN, between March 2022 and April 2022, the prices for raw beef steaks, ham, and shelf-stable seafood all fell slightly.