Wholesale food costs resume their climb

The price charged by manufacturers rose 1.2% after easing in August, driven by higher charges for transportation and warehousing.
Wholesale costs are climbing again/Photo: Shutterstock

Wholesale food costs rose again in September after dipping in August, according to just-released federal statistics, indicating the restaurant industry’s margin pressures could persist at least in the near-term.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) pegged the increase in the Producer Price Index for ready-to-sell food at 1.2%, compared with a decline in August of 0.1%.

The agency said the upswing was particularly sharp for fresh and dried vegetables, whose wholesale price soared by 15.7%. BLS noted that the wholesale prices of eggs and pork also rose, while the charges for processed chicken moderated. It clocked the rise in the wholesale price of eggs at 16.7%, which followed a 25% decline in August.

Overall, the Producer Price Index rose 0.4% last month, after sliding 0.2% and 0.4% in August and July, respectively.

Wholesale prices of selected foods

Most of the September increase came from a spike in the charges levied for services, including transportation and warehousing, according to BLS. Overall, producer prices are hovering about 8.5% above the wholesale prices of September 2021.

The whole price of energy rose 1.7%, a particularly sharp increase. The cost of fuel had declined 5.6% and 9.1% in August and July, respectively.

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