NEW YORK — Food prices reached peak levels last month, according to the Labor Department's Producer Price Index.
The index noted that the month of February experienced a surge of 3.9% in food prices, the largest increase since a 4.2% climb reported in November 1974. PPI also noted that about 70% of the February rise can be attributed to higher prices for fresh and dry vegetables, which jumped 48.7%.
The Labor Department noted that, when seasonally adjusted, the PPI for finished goods increased 1.6%. This rise followed advances of 0.8% in January and 0.9% in December 2010, as well as the largest increase in finished goods prices since a 1.9% increase in June 2009.
The news followed reports that gas prices are said to rise and will prompt a spike in supply chain costs, which in turn will cause consumers to look for value-conscious shopping alternatives.