Government forecasts indicate food prices are leveling off after substantial increase between 2007 and 2008. In 2009, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all food is projected to increase 2.5 to 3.5 percent, as lower commodity and energy costs combine with weaker domestic and global economies to pull inflation down from 2008 levels. If commodity food and energy costs remain below 2008 levels, pressure on retail food prices will subside, and this could result in low-to-moderate food price inflation in 2009.

Food-at-home prices are forecast to increase 2.0 to 3.0 percent, while food-away-from-home prices are forecast to increase 3.5 to 4.5 percent in 2009. The all-food CPI increased 5.5 percent between 2007 and 2008, the highest annual increase since 1990. Food-at-home prices increased 6.4 percent, led by fats and oil prices, which are up 13.8 percent, and cereal and bakery product prices which increased by 10.2 percent. Food-away-from-home prices rose 4.4 percent in 2008. Click here for the full report.