Wholesale Food Prices Rising Alongside Sales

Restaurant sales were up in June as consumers continued to burn off their pent-up demand for socialization and experiences.

Eating and drinking places registered total sales of $70.6 billion on a seasonally-adjusted basis in June, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Census Bureau. That was an increase of 2.3 percent from May’s sales volume and represented the fifth solid increase in the last six months, the National Restaurant Association noted. Driven by the steady gains during the first half of 2021, eating and drinking place sales in June were nearly $4.4 billion (6.6 percent) above the February 2020 pre-pandemic sales volume of $66.2 billion.

While sales are rising, so are food costs. Wholesale food prices trended higher during the first half of 2021, according to preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Proud Price Index for All Foods – which represents the change in average prices paid to domestic producers for their output – rose 2.2 percent between May and June, the National Restaurant Association reported. That includes three consecutive months of increases greater than 2 percent – a first in the 54-year history of the data series.