WASHINGTON — The Consumer Price Index for baked foods and cereal products again finished stronger in 2020, increasing 2.2% after an advance of 1.4% in 2019 and 0.4% in 2018. The gains followed declines of 0.5% in 2017 and 0.3% in 2016.
Overall, 17 of the 18 categories followed by Milling & Baking News finished higher for the year, with only the fresh cakes and cupcakes category finishing lower.
The price index for Bakery Products advanced 2.4% in 2020. The category posted increases of 1.8% in 2019, 0.8% in 2018 and 0.1% in 2016. The index was unchanged in 2017. Two segments within this category — bread and fresh biscuits, rolls and muffins — were introduced in 1998 with a base of December 1997. All other products are based on a 1982-84 average.
In the bread segment, the index increased 3.6%, its largest year-over-year increase since climbing 5.6% in 2011. The index increased 2.7% in 2019 and 0.6% in 2018 but was down 0.1% in both 2017 and 2016. Within the segment, white bread increased 4.3%, its sharpest gain since climbing 5.1% in 2011. The index was 3% higher in 2019 and 0.1% higher in both 2018 and 2017. Bread other than white also finished stronger, increasing 3% after rising 2.9% in 2019 and 1.1% in 2018. The index was down 0.2% in 2017.
The index for cakes, cupcakes and cookies continued its upward climb, rising 1.3% for the second straight year. The index was up 1.7% in 2018, 0.4% in 2017 and 1% in 2016.
The CPI for other bakery products increased 2.2%, its second consecutive year-over-year increase, which followed three straight years of declines between 2016-18. In the other bakery products segment, fresh sweet rolls, coffee cakes and donuts were up 3.4%; crackers and other cracker products increased 2.6%; and frozen and refrigerated bakery products, pies, tarts and turnovers rose 1%.
The CPI for Cereals and Cereal Products increased 1.8% in 2020, its second straight year of year-over-year gains after three consecutive year-over-year declines. Flour and prepared mixes, the only key category to sustain a decline in 2019, rebounded in 2020, advancing 1.2%. Breakfast cereal increased 1.3% in 2020, which followed an increase of 0.5% in 2019 but declines of 1.8% in 2018, 1.1% in 2017 and 1.1% in 2016. Rice, pasta and corn meal increased 2.5%, which followed two consecutive years of an increase of 0.8%.
The CPI for fresh cakes and cupcakes was the only category to sustain a decline in 2020, easing 0.9% after gains of 2.4% in 2019, 2.2% in 2018, 1.4% in 2017 and 2.3% in 2016.
The index for cookies, meanwhile, rose 2.1% in 2020, which followed gains of 0.9% in 2019 and 0.8% in 2018.
On a monthly basis, the CPI for baked foods and cereal products was stronger, rising 0.3% in December.
The December index for Cereals and Bakery Products before seasonal adjustment was 283.7% of the 1982-84 average. For all food at home, the December index was 251.3, up 0.4% from November.
The CPI for Cereals and Cereal Products in December was 232.8, up 0.8% from November. The index for products within this category included: flour and prepared mixes, 232.9, up 0.3% from November; breakfast cereal, 227.9, up 1% from the previous month; and rice, pasta and corn meal, 244.6, up 0.7% from November.
The price index for Bakery Products in December was 313.2, up 0.1% from November.
The December index for bread was 193.1, up 0.2% from November. Under this heading, the CPI for white bread was 350.7, unchanged from November. For bread other than white, the index was 376.2, up 0.7% from November.
The price index for fresh biscuits, rolls and muffins in December was 185.7, up 0.3% from November. The December index for cakes, cupcakes and cookies was 296.5, up 0.3% from November. Under this segment, other price indexes included fresh cakes and cupcakes, 310.4, up 0.1% from November; and cookies, 280.1, up 0.7% from the previous month.
The CPI for other bakery products in December was 273.6, down 0.1% from November. Under this heading, other price indexes in December included: fresh sweet rolls, coffee cakes and donuts, 327.9, up 0.1% from November; crackers and cracker products, 307.2, down 1.7% from November; and frozen and refrigerated bakery products, pies, tarts and turnovers, 270, up 1.3%.