Grocery price inflation slowed in Canada in March as costs dropped for fresh fruit and vegetables.

Statistics Canada said Tuesday that prices for food purchased from stores rose 9.7 per cent year-over-year in March, representing slower growth than the 10.6 per cent increase reported in February.

The monthly Consumer Price Index report said fresh fruit prices increased 7.1 per cent year-over-year, slower than February’s 10.5 per cent gain, with prices for grapes and oranges dropping the most.

Vegetable price increases also slowed, driven by cucumbers and celery, StatsCan said, with a 10.8 per cent increase in March compared with February’s 13.4 per cent.

Food prices still rose faster than overall inflation in March, StatsCan said, but it was the first single-digit food inflation report in eight consecutive months.

The Consumer Price Index rose 4.3 per cent year-over-year, down from 5.2 per in February, with StatsCan noting it was the smallest increase since August 2021.