The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported this week that the U.S. food inflation rate rose another 0.7% in May, marking a 4% increase in the rate over the past year.
The effects of COVID-19 continued to show in the data, with the index of food consumed at home rising another 1% during the month of May. Unlike the broad increase seen in April, BLS said the May increase was driven mostly by a 3.7% rise in the index for meats, poultry, fish and eggs. The beef index, in particular, increased 10.8% in May -- its largest ever monthly increase.
Over the past 12 months, the food at home index has registered a 4.8%, with all six major grocery store food group indexes rising over that span, BLS reported. The index for meats, poultry, fish and eggs has risen 10% over the last year, which BLS said is the largest 12-month increase since the period ending May 2004. The increase reflects a sharp increase in the beef index, which rose 18.2% over the 12-month span, the agency added. The index for dairy and related products increased 5.7%.
The index for food consumed away from home rose 0.4% in May after rising 0.1% in April. This index is also up 2.9% over the last year. The index for limited-service meals rose 0.6% in May following a 0.7% increase in April, and it increased 3.6% over the last 12 months. The index for full-service meals increased 0.2% in May after falling 0.3% in April but has risen 2.4% over the last 12 months.
Other major grocery store food group indexes were mixed in May, the data revealed. The index for dairy and related products increased 1.0%, and the index for fruits and vegetables rose 0.5%. The index for cereals and bakery products fell 0.2% in May after rising 2.9% in April.