Moderate inflation seen for cereals, baked foods

by Josh Sosland
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WASHINGTON — The Consumer Price Index for cereals and bakery products is forecast to climb 2.5% to 3.5% in 2012, according to the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The forecast for grain-based foods compares with an inflation projection of 3.5% to 4.5% in 2011, a decline of 0.8% in 2010 and inflation of 3.2% in 2009.

The projection of 2.5% to 3.5% is precisely in line with the all food forecast for 2012 but ranks 11th of 19 food categories and sub-categories for next year. The widest price increases in 2012 were forecast for proteins and fats, led by beef and veal, up 6% to 7% from 2011, and fats and oils, up 4.5% to 5.5%. Also forecast up 4.5% to 5.5% were the overall meats, poultry and fish category, and the meats sub category.

Prices for sugars and sweets were forecast to advance modestly in 2012, up 2% to 3%. Food away from home also was projected to escalate by 2% to 3% while food at home was expected to be up 3% to 4%.

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