The Only Food Item That Is Seeing Real Relief From Inflation

In recent months, grocery prices have continued to climb, leaving most Americans to grapple with the effects of inflation on their monthly food budget. The most recent Consumer Price Index found that food prices overall had increased 0.9% in May, marking the seventeenth consecutive month of price increases in a row.

However, according to Food Business News, a recent gathering of industry experts painted a mildly optimistic view of food commodity prices in the second half of 2022. Despite confirming overall increases in food prices — due to catastrophic weather events, lingering effects of COVID-19, record fuel prices, and the war in Ukraine — economic forecasters at the Sosland Publishing Purchasing Seminar anticipated some relief in rising grocery costs. 

The report indicates a couple of bright spots in the overall ingredient price index outlook. After hitting all-time highs, the futures prices of certain wheat crops and cooking oils finally dipped in the second half of June, offering a glimmer of hope for the cost of baked goods like cake donuts, shortbread cookies, bagels, and bread, which are up 73%, 42%, 10%, and 7% since the start of the year, respectively, per Food Business News.

According to experts, only one category of food had a lower price index than at the start of the year: pasta. This is largely due to the cost of durum wheat, which has declined since January as a result of an increased durum crop. It hit extreme lows last year due to drought conditions (via Barchart).

Experts predict price increases will slow in the coming month

When compared with the cost of those same items this time last year (June of 2021), the head-to-head comparison is more grim. There have been sharp increases in the cost of just about every wheat-based grocery item, via Food Business News

In addition to the rocketing prices of flour, the increased cost of common ingredients like sugar, eggs, and edible oils are also to blame for the hike in bakery prices. Recently, egg and turkey prices have skyrocketed due to a major global outbreak of avian flu that has led to the death of 40 million birds worldwide (via Food Safety News). Meanwhile, the cost of sugar cane just reached its highest level since 1974, and the cost of soybean oil, canola, oil, and palm oil have all increased due to weather conditions, shipping delays, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine (via NPR).

Despite the many environmental, social, and economic factors negatively impacting food costs worldwide, panelists at the Sosland Publishing Purchasing Seminar predicted that while the cost of most commodities will remain elevated at least through the end of 2022, price increases will begin to slow in the coming months, offering a glimmer of hope for American consumers — and their embattled wallets.