Food prices kept soaring in September and were one of the “many contributors” to worse-than-expected US inflation.
Grocery prices in September were up 13% from a year ago, with goods such as flour, cookies, turkey, and canned fruits and vegetables all rising by the most ever, Labor Department data Thursday showed.
Meanwhile, the index for food at schools and employee sites jumped 45% from the prior month and 91% on an annual basis. While it represents a very small share of the overall consumer price index, it’s just one more cost increase weighing on Americans. The surge is the result of the expiration of a pandemic-era program providing free meals to all public-school students just as classes resumed this autumn.
All together, higher costs for food both at and away from home mean Americans are getting squeezed no matter where they eat. More expensive food is a challenge for President Joe Biden and his Democrats who are seeking to hold on to narrow majorities in Congress ahead of the midterm elections next month.
Food, along with shelter and medical costs, were blamed for inflation coming in higher than forecast, which helped spark a broad selloff in markets Thursday.