CPI in March 2022 quarter shows highest year-on-year food price inflation in more than 10 years

The quarterly Consumer Price Index data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, released today, shows food price inflation accelerated in the March 2022 quarter, with food prices recording the highest year-on-year rise in more than 10 years.

And consumers should be bracing for further food price rises in coming months, as the impacts of higher transport costs, supply chain disruptions and other increased input costs make their way through the system.

Headline numbers for food prices in the March 2022 quarter CPI are a 4.3% increase year-on-year and 2.8% from the previous quarter. This is the highest year-on-year increase in food price inflation since 2011.

There is broad-based price inflation across the “food complex”, with rises recorded across all major grocery food product categories.

Food price rises were the highest in the grocery channel. There was reported inflation in foodservice, but this was ‘softened by meals out and takeaway foods (+0.7%), that saw price rises partially offset by voucher schemes reducing out-of-pocket costs for consumers in some cities.’ 

Horticulture was a major contributor to the food inflation recorded –  vegetables (+6.6%) and fruit (+4.9%) prices higher year-on-year.

Higher cost of meat, seafood and dairy were also significant contributors to food price inflation in the quarter.

Higher transport costs, supply chain disruptions and increased input costs were the main cause for food price rises.

In Addition, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 2.1% for the March 2022 quarter. While over the twelve months to the March 2022 quarter, the CPI rose 5.1%, the highest 12 month increase for 20 years.

Expect further increases as the impacts of flooding in New South Wales and Queensland – which affected some agricultural production and supply chains – started flowing through in March, at the latter part of the quarterly index.

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