nina | June 29th, 2012 - 9:00 am

Overall food costs were unchanged between April and May, even though the latest USDA figures show that the food Consumer Price Index (CPI) is 2.8 percent higher than in May 2011.

The report notes that beef prices rose 0.6 percent last month from April levels, with steak prices up 5.6 percent and ground beef 5.9 percent higher than year-ago results.

Poultry prices fell 1.4 percent in May, although they are 3.9 percent above the May 2011 index.

May pork prices fell by 0.8 percent from April and were 0.3 percent lower than last year, prompting USDA to revise its forecast for 2012 pork prices downward to an increase of between 2 and 3 percent.

The CPI for food eaten at home in May fell 0.1 percent – still 1.7 percent higher than May 2011 – while the food-away-from-home index was up 0.2 percent from April, and up 2.9 percent from a year ago.

The USDA report noted the year-over-year increase for food eaten at home coming in lower in each month of 2012 indicates that food price inflation has slowed down.

Overall CPI is projected to rise by 2.5 to 3.5 percent this year, continuing an average annual increase in food prices of 2.8 percent between 1990 and 2011. The forecasts assume normal weather conditions and no shocks to the global market for major commodities.

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