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The Cost of Food in the Midwest Continues to Rise While Energy Costs Dipped

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released monthly inflation data Wednesday.  All items rose .3% in December bringing the total Midwest inflation in 2021 to 7.5%.  Midwest food costs purchased from grocery stores, dining/delivery establishments, increased .6% in December bringing the 2021 food costs to 7.5%.  

Chart 1. Over-the-year percent change in CPI-U, Midwest region, December 2018-December 2021

Midwest energy costs dipped 2.1% due to lower gasoline prices and electricity and natural gas premiums not recording a huge spike. Energy prices rose 30.6 percent over the year. Gasoline prices were up 48.8 percent compared to a year ago and natural gas service costs rose 33.7 percent over the year. Prices for electricity advanced 3.8 percent during the past year.

Breaking down food costs in 2021.  Food bought at the grocery store increased 7.4% while dining out/ordering rose 7.7%.  Factors such as restaurants rethinking their businesses to deal with COVID protocols and increased pay for staff contribute to the increased costs of dining for the consumer and contribute to Midwest inflation.