Consumers finally saw prices fall last month after months of significant increases.
The price of groceries fell in July for the first time since soaring this spring during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic when demand spiked amid lockdown orders and the closure of restaurants.
The price consumers paid for grocery items fell 1.1% last month compared to June, according to Consumer Price Index data released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Labor. The decrease led to a decline in the price index for all food, including both groceries and food from restaurants, which fell 0.4% in July, the first decrease since April 2019.
It’s welcome relief for shoppers, who have seen their grocery bills grow significantly in the last several months during the pandmeic. Grocery prices spiked 2.6% in April, the largest increase in more than four decades, and rose another 1% in May. In June, prices continued to climb, increasing 0.7%.
The prices for five of the six major grocery store food groups dipped last month. The cost of meat, fish, poultry and eggs fell notably, decreasing by 3.8% from the previous month. That decrease was led by a sizable 8.2% decline in the cost of beef. Beef prices had been increasing sharply until last month.
Despite last month’s decrease, grocery prices still remain significantly elevated compared to last year. Prices are up 4.6% from last July, well above the target inflation rate.
By Claire Hansen