Here’s what got more expensive — and cheaper — at the grocery store

Oct 12, 2023, 3:18 PM

Shopping in a Whole Foods Market supermarket in New York on Friday, September 22, 2023.
Mandatory C...

Shopping in a Whole Foods Market supermarket in New York on Friday, September 22, 2023. Mandatory Credit: Richard B. Levine/Levine Roberts/ZUMA Press

New York (CNN) — Grocery price increases continued to moderate in September, with prices ticking up just 0.1% last month, according to seasonally adjusted data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released on Thursday. In August, groceries had grown 0.2% pricier.

In the year through September, not adjusted for seasonal swings, grocery prices rose 2.4% — less than inflation overall, which was 3.7%.

Food price increases have been easing this year, offering some much-needed relief at the supermarket. In March, grocery prices dipped for the first time since September 2020.

Food prices had been particularly volatile for a number of reasons, including extreme weather, the war in Ukraine, higher feed and fertilizer costs and challenges across the supply chain. Some food companies used the moment of rapid changes to pad their own profits. Some items, like eggs, notched massive increases before starting to fall.

But now, many items have remained steady, month to month.

In September, fruit and vegetable prices were unchanged. Uncooked beef steaks and nonalcoholic beverages stayed flat. Chicken and dairy overall rose just 0.1%.

Some individual items got cheaper last month: Potato prices dropped 2%, ham fell 1.8% and rice went down 1.3%. Fish and seafood together dropped 1.2%. Cheese got 0.4% cheaper.

And some still notched increases, especially in the meat aisle. Hot dogs spiked 6.8%, bacon jumped 4.8% and uncooked ground beef rose 0.6%.

Butter jumped 2.4%, milk rose 1.4% and citrus fruits went up 1.3%. Eggs increased by 0.9%, after falling for a few months.

What got more expensive this year

In the year through September, some items still notched high price increases.

Frozen fruits and vegetables spiked 8.1% in that period, and sugar went up 7.7%. Beef and veal together jumped 7%, and bread rose 6.1%. Ice cream rose 4.5%. Flour and apples each rose 3.9%. Coffee rose 1.6%.

Many items also got cheaper: Eggs dropped 14.5%, butter slumped 4%, and cheese and lettuce each fell 2.8%. Citrus fruits declined 2.4%. Chicken and milk each slumped 2.1% and pork declined by 1.7%. Fish and seafood together fell 1.5%.

While grocery prices are moderating, restaurant prices have remained high, rising 6% for the year and 0.4% in September. Prices for limited service restaurants, where customers order at a counter, were up 6.4% for the year.

Chipotle said this week that it is raising prices, and Domino’s said Thursday that in the third quarter, its prices were up 3.2% on average.

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Here’s what got more expensive — and cheaper — at the grocery store