"The heightened commodity price volatility of 2008 and 2010 and the subsequent acceleration in U.S. food price inflation associated with those market shifts raised concerns and generated many questions about farm and food price movements by Members of Congress and their constituents. This report responds to those concerns by addressing the nature and measurement of retail food price inflation. For a discussion of the relationship between farm and retail prices, and the major factors influencing retail food prices, see CRS Report R40621, Farm-to-Food Price Dynamics. During the 1991 to 2006 period, U.S. food prices were fairly stable--annual food price inflation, as measured by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all food (excluding alcoholic beverages), averaged a relatively low 2.5%. However, several economic factors emerged in late 2005 that began to gradually push market prices higher for both raw agricultural commodities and energy costs, and ultimately retail food prices. U.S. food price inflation increased at a rate of 4% in 2007 and at 5.5% in 2008--the highest since 1990 and well above the general inflation rate of 3.8%."
CRS Report for Congress, R40545