NEW CANAAN, Conn. — Commodity cost increases and higher energy and freight costs brought significant food inflation in the first quarter of the calendar year, according to a study from Customer Growth Partners here, which is scheduled to be released on Thursday.
The inflation results are based on field studies of 30-item baskets at Wal-Mart , Target and Aldi  stores in four states. Flat or declining prices among health and beauty aids, household consumables and general merchandise resulted in an overall rate of inflation of 2.4%, CGP added.
The study showed Target had maintained pricing parity with Wal-Mart over a similar 45-item basket — a position that Target attained for the first time in CGP's last quarterly survey. However, the study said, Target was likely gaining an advantage via discounted sales through its Redcard, which CGP estimated now comprises 12% to 15% of Target's dollar sales.
Redcard is a debit card offering a 5% discount on items purchased at Target.