ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Food and beverage prices in October were 13.3% versus a year ago, increasing by 1.4% compared to September, according to a new report by IRI.
Compared to a year ago, overall food inflation has stabilized in the past three months. However, consumers are using multiple tactics to reduce spending, such as switching to private-label products, trading down to mainstream and value brands, as well as dining more at home.
Quick shopping trips are growing four times faster than any other types of trips, suggesting that convenience stores can offer value to time-starved consumers who are topping off instead of doing large shops.
Within the grocery store, the perimeter, including produce and deli, has seen inflation moderate to 8.4% compared to the year-ago period, while center store inflation, including snacks, frozen meals and other frozen foods, has risen every month in 2022 and is now at 14.9% compared to the year-ago period.
Fresh meat and seafood and alcohol segments are up 4.5% and 5.5% compared to the year-ago period, while other categories, such as dairy (+21.3%) and frozen meals and other frozen foods (+18.4%), are up significantly.
Halloween was more expensive this year, as seasonal Halloween candy prices increased 13.5% compared to the year-ago period, and volumes were down 2.0%. Thanksgiving will also be more expensive this year, due to what could become the worst year ever of avian flu outbreaks for poultry, according to Money.com.
The Federal Reserve is attempting to temper inflation by raising interest rates another 0.75 percentage points, reports the Wall Street Journal. Inflation hit a new four-decade high in September, showing that strong and broad price pressures are still happening. The core consumer-price index (CPI) was up 6.6% last month compared with September 2021—the largest increase since August 1982. Inflation was 8.2% in September.
This was the Fed’s fourth time raising interest rates by 0.75 points. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said rates could increase by a smaller amount during December’s meeting, but could also raise borrowing costs next year more than they have projected.
“The inflation picture has become more and more challenging over the course of this year, without question,” Powell said at a news conference Wednesday. “To the extent rates have to go higher and stay higher for longer, it becomes harder to see the path [that avoids a recession].”
Looking at private payroll last month, companies added 239,000 positions for the month, ahead of the Dow Jones estimate of 195,000, and more than September’s 192,000 additions. Wages also increased 7.7% year over year, which was 0.1 percentage point from the previous month.
Leisure and hospitality added 210,000 jobs, and wage growth was up 11.2% over the year prior. CNBC reports the sector is seen as a bellwether, as it was hit hardest by the pandemic, and numbers are still below pre-pandemic levels.
“This is a really strong number given the maturity of the economic recovery, but the hiring was not broad-based,” said Nela Richardson, ADP’s chief economist. “Goods producers, which are sensitive to interest rates, are pulling back, and job changers are commanding smaller pay gains. While we’re seeing early signs of Fed-driven demand destruction, it’s affecting only certain sectors of the labor market.”
Additionally, job openings rose in September, totaling 10.72 million, much higher than the FactSet estimate of 9.85 million. The data shows that there are 1.9 job openings for every available worker, which has fueled wage increases. The employment costs index is growing at about a 5% annual pace.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics is scheduled to release its payrolls count this Friday, and the report is expected to show growth of 205,000, from September’s 263,000, according to CNBC.
The U.S. convenience store industry employs an estimated 2.38 million people, and convenience store jobs score high marks, according to former employees and customers. Nearly three in four consumers (72%) say they have a favorable opinion of convenience store jobs, while 79% of current and former c-store workers say their job experience was valuable, and 66% said they would recommend that type of work to others, particularly as a first job.