June 19, 2000
Food inflation decelerated again in 1999, with prices going up only 1.9 percent following a 2.3 percent rise during the previous year. The fall from 1998 to 1999 was due to lower inflation or deflation for chicken, fish and seafood, dairy, fresh fruits, and fresh vegetables.
Prices for chicken fell 2.1 percent due to record-level poultry production, shrinking net exports, and greater foreign competition. Fish and seafood prices increased only 1.7 percent; imports of shrimp and salmon were up sharply. Milk prices advanced 3.4 percent following a 6.1-percent rise in 1998.
Prices for fresh fruit and vegetables also increased much less in 1999 than in 1998. Banana imports were up and tomato supplies from Mexico and Florida were abundant in 1999.
These data are from the BLS Consumer Price Index program. To find out more about trends in food prices, see "Core consumer prices in 1999: low by historical standards," by Todd Wilson, Monthly Labor Review, April 2000. Annual percent changes are December-to-December changes.