- Food-at-home prices rose in November at a 12% annual clip, while overall inflation during the month was 7.1%, according to Consumer Price Index figures released Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
- The food-at-home index moved up 0.5% in November compared with the prior month, a reversal from the slight month-to-month decline in the statistic recorded in October.
- The latest inflation data provides further evidence that the rapid year-over-year inflation that has gripped the economy throughout 2022 has passed its peak.
Grocery inflation in November came in at its lowest level since May, when relief from skyrocketing food-at-home prices seemed to be nowhere in sight.
The annual food-at-home price index has now decreased for three months in a row after hitting a multidecade high of 13.5% in August, capping a string of increases that lasted for well over a year. Across-the-board inflation, meanwhile, lost momentum in November for the fourth consecutive month.
Even as the annual rate of grocery inflation as a whole has moved from rising relentlessly to posting a downward trend, prices for many products went up even faster in November than they did the month before, underscoring the challenges retailers and shoppers are continuing to face.
Prices for cereals and bakery products rose at an annual rate of 16.4% in November compared with the same month in 2021, a figure that was up from 15.9% in October, the BLS reported. Costs for fruits, vegetables and dairy products also rose faster last month on a year-over-year basis than they did the month before.
Conversely, prices for meat, poultry, fish and eggs moved ahead at a slower annual rate in November than they did during October, the BLS said. The year-over-year inflation rate for those goods came in at 6.8% last month, down from 8% in October.
Grocery prices continued to move ahead last month against a backdrop of markedly lower prices for gasoline in recent months, shining a spotlight on supermarkets as consumers formed impressions about where inflation is headed. Nationwide, the average cost of a gallon of regular gas was $3.53 during the week that concluded Nov. 28 — the lowest level for the commodity since February, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Prices for regular gas have declined further in December, falling to an average of $3.24 during the week that ended on Monday.
Despite declining in recent months, however, prices at the pump are considerably higher than they were in late 2021. The across-the-board cost of gasoline was up at a 10.1% rate in November compared with the same period a year ago, the BLS reported.