Prices for many major commodities are projected to remain elevated, research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Restaurant Association contends.
According to the NRA's 2013 Restaurant Industry Forecast, elevated food prices continued to squeeze operators' bottom lines last year and are expected to advance again this year.
"After jumping 8.1 percent in 2011, the strongest annual increase in more than three decades, average wholesale food prices rose by more than 2 percent in 2012, said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the NRA's Research & Knowledge Group. "During the last six years, we've seen average wholesale food prices jump nearly 30 percent with the only decline – a 4 percent drop – occurring in 2009, so rising food costs have and will continue to be a challenge for restaurant operators."
USDA research for 2013 finds that prices for many major commodities are expected to continue to rise. Those commodities include beef, chicken and pork as well as most dairy products like cheese, butter and milk.
Conversely, prices on turkey and eggs are the only major commodities the USDA expects to be basically flat or decline.