Food Inflation in the United States (1968-2022)

The average price of food in the United States jumped 10.9% in the 12 months ended July, the most since May 1979 and after rising 10.4% previously, according to the latest inflation data published Aug. 10, 2022, by the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Food is a major component within the BLS’s Consumer Price Index (CPI). This inflation category is divided into two smaller groups — the "Food at home" index and the "Food away from home" index.

The "Food at home" index covers how prices have changed for foods found in grocery stores while the "Food away from home" index tracks how prices have changed for service meals and snacks. As an example, the CPI for July reported prices for the two logged year-over-year increases of 13.1% and 7.6%.

Some of the foods that the BLS surveys every month for inflation include meats, poultry, fish, eggs, cereal, bakery products, dairy, beverages, and various fruits and vegetables. The following chart shows how prices for some these items have increased in the 12 months through July 2022.

(See specific grocery prices over time for foods like bananas, oranges, bacon, ground beef, steak, milk, eggs, cheese, flour, rice, potato chips, coffee, etc.)

This next chart shows overall U.S. food inflation on an annual basis over the last decade:

*For unfinished years, the latest inflation data (12-month based) is always displayed in the chart’s final column.

Table: Food Inflation by Month and Year

The below table shows the percent increase or decrease in food prices on an annual basis by month and calendar year. Since figures below are 12-month periods, look to the December column to find the over change in food prices by calendar year. The last column, "Ave," shows the average rate of increase or decrease in food prices by year.

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Ave
1968 2.3 2.9 3.2 4.0 4.3 3.7 3.4 3.4 4.0 4.3 4.0 4.2 3.4
1969 3.9 3.6 3.9 3.9 3.9 5.0 5.5 5.5 5.7 5.2 6.3 7.1 5.2
1970 7.0 7.6 7.0 7.0 6.9 5.8 5.2 4.7 4.4 4.7 3.3 2.3 5.2
1971 2.0 1.8 2.8 3.0 3.0 3.5 3.5 3.7 3.0 3.0 3.5 4.2 3.2
1972 4.0 5.2 4.4 3.6 3.4 3.1 3.6 3.6 4.6 4.6 5.0 4.5 4.1
1973 6.4 6.8 9.1 10.5 11.7 12.6 12.5 18.2 17.2 17.2 18.1 18.5 13.2
1974 18.1 18.7 17.0 15.3 14.9 13.9 13.1 9.0 11.2 12.0 11.6 12.1 13.7
1975 11.2 9.1 8.1 8.1 7.7 8.9 11.1 9.3 7.6 7.5 6.9 6.2 8.5
1976 5.5 4.8 4.1 4.6 4.7 3.7 2.1 2.5 2.1 1.6 1.0 0.8 3.2
1977 1.6 4.2 5.4 6.2 6.1 6.6 6.4 6.5 6.7 6.6 7.6 7.5 6.0
1978 8.3 7.3 8.0 8.6 9.5 10.1 10.4 10.2 10.7 11.3 11.1 11.6 9.7
1979 12.2 12.8 12.5 11.7 11.1 10.0 9.9 9.5 9.8 9.7 9.7 10.0 10.7
1980 8.8 7.3 7.4 7.2 7.0 7.1 7.7 9.4 10.0 10.1 10.4 10.1 8.5
1981 10.0 10.4 10.0 9.4 8.7 8.5 8.3 7.3 6.5 5.7 4.9 4.3 7.8
1982 4.7 4.7 4.0 4.1 4.8 5.2 4.4 3.6 3.5 3.5 3.4 3.2 4.1
1983 2.6 2.1 2.8 3.0 2.5 1.6 1.4 1.8 1.8 2.1 2.3 2.7 2.3
1984 3.9 4.5 3.8 3.4 3.0 3.3 3.7 4.2 3.9 3.8 3.8 3.8 3.7
1985 2.6 2.4 2.5 2.4 2.5 2.4 2.1 1.6 1.9 2.0 2.5 2.8 2.3
1986 2.9 2.1 2.1 2.3 2.8 2.8 3.5 4.2 4.3 4.3 4.2 3.7 3.3
1987 4.1 4.6 4.5 4.5 4.7 5.1 4.1 3.5 3.6 3.5 3.3 3.5 4.0
1988 3.2 2.9 3.1 3.5 3.4 3.3 4.5 4.9 5.2 5.2 5.2 5.1 4.1
1989 5.4 6.0 6.3 6.3 6.5 6.2 5.6 5.2 4.8 5.0 5.4 5.5 5.7
1990 6.6 6.7 6.4 5.6 5.1 5.4 5.6 5.7 5.6 5.6 5.5 5.3 5.8
1991 4.5 3.9 3.9 4.7 4.7 4.6 3.5 2.9 2.8 2.3 2.4 2.5 3.6
1992 1.5 1.5 1.8 1.2 0.7 0.4 0.7 1.6 1.9 2.0 1.6 1.6 1.4
1993 1.9 1.9 1.5 1.9 2.5 2.0 2.2 1.9 1.8 2.2 2.5 2.7 2.1
1994 2.7 2.1 2.1 1.8 1.6 2.2 2.6 2.7 2.7 2.3 2.3 2.7 2.3
1995 2.5 2.9 2.8 3.4 3.2 2.9 2.6 2.5 2.6 2.9 2.7 2.1 2.8
1996 2.4 2.4 2.8 2.6 2.6 3.2 3.4 3.6 3.7 4.0 4.3 4.2 3.2
1997 3.6 3.7 3.3 2.9 3.0 2.6 2.5 2.5 2.2 1.9 1.7 1.6 2.6
1998 2.2 1.8 1.9 2.0 2.3 2.2 2.2 2.1 2.0 2.3 2.3 2.3 2.2
1999 2.2 2.5 2.2 2.3 2.2 2.2 2.1 2.0 2.2 1.9 2.0 2.0 2.2
2000 1.6 1.8 2.1 2.0 2.2 2.3 2.7 2.7 2.6 2.5 2.3 2.8 2.3
2001 2.9 3.0 3.1 3.1 3.0 3.3 3.1 3.1 3.1 3.4 3.4 2.8 3.1
2002 2.8 2.7 2.6 2.5 2.0 1.7 1.5 1.3 1.3 1.0 1.3 1.5 1.8
2003 1.1 1.4 1.5 1.3 1.7 2.2 2.1 2.4 2.5 2.9 3.1 3.5 2.1
2004 3.5 3.1 3.2 3.4 4.0 3.7 3.8 3.5 3.3 3.4 3.1 2.6 3.4
2005 2.8 2.6 2.5 3.1 2.5 2.2 2.2 2.1 2.5 2.2 2.2 2.3 2.5
2006 2.6 2.7 2.6 1.8 1.9 2.2 2.2 2.5 2.6 2.6 2.3 2.2 2.4
2007 2.4 3.1 3.3 3.7 3.9 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.4 4.4 4.7 4.8 3.9
2008 4.8 4.5 4.4 5.0 5.0 5.2 5.8 5.9 6.0 6.1 5.9 5.8 5.4
2009 5.2 4.7 4.3 3.3 2.7 2.2 1.1 0.6 0.0 -0.3 -0.5 -0.4 1.9
2010 -0.2 -0.1 0.3 0.5 0.7 0.7 0.9 1.0 1.4 1.4 1.5 1.5 0.8
2011 1.8 2.2 2.8 3.1 3.4 3.6 4.0 4.4 4.5 4.5 4.4 4.5 3.6
2012 4.2 3.8 3.2 3.0 2.7 2.7 2.3 2.0 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.8 2.5
2013 1.6 1.6 1.5 1.6 1.4 1.4 1.5 1.4 1.4 1.3 1.2 1.1 1.4
2014 1.1 1.4 1.7 1.8 2.4 2.2 2.4 2.6 2.9 2.9 3.1 3.3 2.3
2015 3.1 2.8 2.3 1.9 1.6 1.7 1.6 1.5 1.6 1.6 1.2 0.8 1.8
2016 0.9 0.9 0.8 1.0 0.7 0.4 0.3 0.1 -0.2 -0.3 -0.3 -0.1 0.3
2017 -0.1 0.1 0.5 0.6 0.9 0.9 1.1 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.6 0.9
2018 1.6 1.4 1.3 1.4 1.2 1.4 1.4 1.4 1.4 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.4
2019 1.6 2.0 2.1 1.8 2.0 1.9 1.8 1.7 1.8 2.1 2.0 1.8 1.9
2020 1.8 1.8 1.9 3.5 4.0 4.5 4.1 4.1 3.9 3.9 3.7 3.9 3.4
2021 3.8 3.6 3.5 2.4 2.2 2.4 3.4 3.7 4.6 5.3 6.1 6.3 3.9
2022 7.0 7.9 8.8 9.4 10.1 10.4 10.9 Avail.
Sept.
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Data Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Food and beverages in U.S. city average, all urban consumers, not seasonally adjusted. CPI-All Urban Consumers.

The change in food prices is a component of the CPI’s "all items" index and so they are part of the data set that is used in calculating inflation rates. Because food prices tend to be more volatile, however, they are stripped when calculating core inflation rates.

About food and how their prices change over the years, check also: milk prices adjusted for inflation, coffee prices adjusted for inflation, bacon prices adjusted for inflation, and egg prices adjusted for inflation.