USDA Releases Official Forecast for Food Prices—Here’s What to Expect

By Allan Stein
Allan Stein
Allan Stein
Allan Stein is an Epoch Times reporter who covers the state of Arizona.
June 6, 2022 Updated: June 6, 2022

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released its 2022 Food Price Outlook, giving Americans insight into how much food prices are expected to rise this year.

“All food prices are now predicted to increase between 6.5 and 7.5 percent,” the outlook said.

The cost of takeout food and restaurant meals are expected to rise between 6 and 7 percent, while at-home food will jump between 7 and 8 percent, it added.

The report summarizes the USDA’s May 2022 forecasts, including the April 2022 Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Producer Price Index (PPI) numbers.

Epoch Times Photo
People shop at a grocery store in New York City on May 31, 2022. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

According to the agriculture department, significant increases in April followed similarly large changes in January through March.

The impacts of the conflict in Ukraine and the recent increases in interest rates by the Federal Reserve are expected to put pressure on food prices, and these situations will be “closely monitored,” the USDA added.

The department projects food price increases will remain above the increases in 2020 and 2021 and will increase 7 to 8 percent in 2022 to exceed historical averages and the inflation rate in 2021.

“An ongoing outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza has reduced the U.S. egg-layer flock and drove a 10.3 percent increase in retail egg prices in April 2022,” the report said.

“Retail poultry prices have been high, with historically low stocks of frozen chicken.”

The outlook noted the avian influenza outbreak has also caused poultry prices to increase. Over 38 million birds have been affected, and euthanized, since the bird flu began in January.

The department expects poultry prices will jump up to 9.5 percent in the months ahead, egg prices by up to 20.5 percent, and fish and seafood between 7 percent and 8 percent respectively.

U.S. shortage of infant formula
Shelves for baby and toddler formula are partially empty, as the quantity a shopper can buy is limited amid continuing U.S. shortages, at a grocery store in Medford, Mass., on May 17, 2022. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

Dairy products are in line to increase by 7 percent to 8 percent because of increased consumption in 2022.

Similarly, fats and oil prices may increase up to 11 percent; fresh fruit prices between 8.5 percent and 9.5 percent; cereal, bakery products, and nonalcoholic beverage prices up to 8 percent; and other food prices between 7.5 percent and 8.5 percent in 2022, the USDA predicts.

The American Egg Board, meanwhile, said avian flu has affected roughly 5 percent of commercial layer flocks and impacted farms are working with state and federal agency partners to resume operations.

“Like many sectors of the economy, egg farming is impacted by inflation and experiencing some limited supply chain challenges due to a variety of factors,” the egg board said in a May 24 statement.

In spite of emptier egg shelves at supermarkets, the board said America’s egg farmers are operating “around the clock” to keep their products affordable and grocery stores stocked.

Allan Stein
Allan Stein is an Epoch Times reporter who covers the state of Arizona.