Spring has brought with it acceleration in beef-price increases that hurt consumers and all restaurants, but hit burger joint particularly hard. In April 2014, the average price per pound for ground chuck rose 3.8 percent to $3.886, according to the latest Consumer Price Index data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Compared with April 2013, ground beef prices are up 11.6 percent. Over the past two years the rise has been 16.8 percent.
The overall meat category price index was up 2.9 percent in April, the largest monthly jump since November 2003. The index for meats, poultry, fish and eggs was up 1.5 percent in April. Fruits and vegetables also are beginning to show a steady increase, up 0.7 percent in April.
Meanwhile, the CPI’s average price per pound for whole chicken declined 0.9 percent in April to $1.53. Compared with a year ago, the index for whole chickens was up 3.9 percent.
The price index for food at home (supermarket prices) rose 0.4 percent in April, higher than the 0.3 percent increase for food away from home (restaurants). However, over the past 12 months, the index for food away from home has risen 2.2 percent, compared with 1.7 percent for at-home food.