Several Grocery Prices Down in Marketbasket Survey

Lizzy SchultzAFBF, Ag Group, consumer, Farm Bureau, Food

image003 According to USDA, Americans spend just under 10 percent of their disposable annual income on food, the lowest average of any country in the world, and the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) Spring Picnic Marketbasket Survey highlighted a slight decrease in the current retail prices of several popular foods, including salad, orange juice, shredded cheddar, ground chuck, sirloin tip roast, vegetable oil, white bread, ground chuck, and deli ham.

The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 popular food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $53.28, down $.59 from last year’s survey. Of the 16 items surveyed, ten decreased and six increased in average price. A total of 87 shoppers in 28 states participated in the latest survey, conducted in March.

Egg prices are up sharply from first quarter of 2015, a year ago but are down even more sharply from the third quarter of 2015.The beef items in the market basket, ground chuck and sirloin tip roast, have lower prices compared to the first quarter of 2015, as retail beef prices peaked in early 2015 at record high levels. Dairy product prices also remain relatively low. Shredded cheddar cheese is at the lowest price in this survey since the third quarter of 2012, and is currently priced at $4.29 for a one-pound bag. The whole milk price rose almost 3 percent from the third quarter of last year, but remains well below the 2015 first-quarter price.

Items showing retail price decreases from a year ago included:

  • orange juice, down 8 percent to $3.21 per half-gallon
  • bagged salad, down 11 percent to $2.20 per pound
  • shredded cheddar cheese, down 7 percent to $4.29 per pound
  • whole milk, down 6 percent to $3.23 per gallon
  • ground chuck, down 5 percent to $4.36 per pound
  • vegetable oil, down 5 percent to $2.55 for a 32-ounce bottle
  • white bread, down 3 percent to $1.69 per 20-ounce loaf
  • flour, down 1 percent to $2.49 for a 5-pound bag
  • sirloin tip roast, down 1 percent to $5.65 per pound
  • potatoes, down 1 percent to $2.71 for a 5-pound bag

This survey tracks closely with the federal government’s Consumer Price Index report for food at home. As retail grocery prices have increased gradually over time, the share of the average food dollar that America’s farm and ranch families receive has dropped.

“Through the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures for food eaten at home and away from home, on average. Since then, that figure has decreased steadily and is now about 16 percent, according to the Agriculture Department’s revised Food Dollar Series,” said John Anderson, AFBF’s deputy chief economist.

Using the “food at home and away from home” percentage across-the-board, the farmer’s share of this $53.28 marketbasket would be $8.52.