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Why Falling Food Prices Around the World Aren't Helping U.S. Consumers

Americans love their processed foods, and that's part of the problem
Kroger brand bread sits on a shelf at a Kroger store in Peoria, Illinois, U.S., on Tuesday, June 16, 2015. The Kroger Co. is expected to report quarterly earnings on Thursday, June 18, 2015.
Photographer: Daniel Acker

As world food prices reach an almost six-year low, don't expect American consumers to reap the benefits at restaurants or grocery stores anytime soon.

Costs for meat, dairy, cereals, oils and sugar fell a combined 0.9 percent in June from the previous month, reaching the lowest level since September 2009 and down 21 percent from this time last year, according to data released last week by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Meanwhile, consumer food prices in the U.S. are increasing faster than for other goods and services, with year-over-year advances averaging 2.4 percent since the start of 2015. That compares with either flat or negative readings for prices overall.