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Grocery price inflation flattens in September

And food away from home was up 0.4%

Food price inflation was down in September but flattened for groceries and remained high for restaurants.

Overall inflation moderated in September as energy price increases eased from the previous month and used car prices continued to decline, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Thursday.

The energy index decreased 0.5% for the 12 months ending September, and the food index increased 3.7% over the last year.

The food index rose 0.2% in September, as it did in the previous two months. The index for food at home increased 0.1% over the month, after rising 0.2% in August. 

Three of the six major grocery store food group indexes increased over the month. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs rose 0.5% in September as the index for pork increased 1.6%. The index for other food at home increased 0.3% over the month and the index for dairy and related products rose 0.1%. 

The index for cereals and bakery products decreased 0.4% in September, the first decline in that index since June 2021. The fruits and vegetables index was unchanged over the month, as was the nonalcoholic beverages index.

The food away from home index rose 0.4% in September. The index for limited service meals and the index for full service meals each increased 0.4%. 

Over the last year, the food at home index rose 2.4%. The index for cereals and bakery products rose 4.8% over the 12 months ending in September. The dairy and related products index decreased 0.2% over the year. The remaining major grocery store food groups posted increases ranging from 0.2% (meat, poultry, fish, and eggs) to 4.2% (other food at home).

The index for food away from home rose 6% over the last year. The index for limited service meals rose 6.4% over the last 12 months, and the index for full service meals rose 5.1% over the same period. 

The Consumer Price Index showed inflation rose 0.4% over last month and 3.7% over the prior year on a headline basis in September, a deceleration from August’s 0.6% month-over-month increase and in line with August’s 3.7% annual rise.

Both measures were slightly higher than forecasts for a 0.3% month-over-month increase and a 3.6% annual increase, according to Bloomberg.

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