WASHINGTON — After finishing higher for two consecutive months, the Consumer Price Index for food and beverages finished flat in February, ending at 236.2, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor. The food index also was unchanged, ending at 236.3 in February.
Only two of the six major grocery store food group indexes increased in February, led by fruits and vegetables, which rose 1.4%. Both the fresh fruits and fresh vegetables indexes increased 1.8% during the month.
The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs also increased during February, climbing 0.5%. The index was flat in January.
The index for cereals and bakery products, which increased 0.1% in January, fell 0.2% in February.
Also easing in the month was the index for dairy and related products, which fell 0.4% during the month, and other food at home, which declined 0.6%.
The index for nonalcoholic beverages, which declined 0.5% in January, was flat in February.The overall Consumer Price Index advanced 0.7% in February after finishing flat for two straight months. Over the past 12 months, the index increased 2%.