Higher retail prices for several foods, including sirloin tip roast, ground chuck, deli ham and orange juice, resulted in a slight increase in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Spring Picnic Marketbasket survey The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $53.87, up $.60 or about 1 percent compared to a survey conducted a year ago. Of the 16 items surveyed, eight increased and eight decreased in average price. “Several meat items increased in price, accounting for much of the modest increase in the marketbasket,” said John Anderson, AFBF’s deputy chief economist. “The 1 percent increase shown by our survey tracks closely with the Agriculture Department’s forecast of 2 percent to 3 percent food inflation for 2015,” he said.
Items showing retail price increases from a year ago included:
- sirloin tip roast, up 14 percent to $5.71 per pound
- ground chuck, up 12 percent to $4.61 per pound
- orange juice, up 7 percent to $3.47 per half-gallon
- toasted oat cereal, up 7 percent to $3.12 for a 9-ounce box
- deli ham, up 6 percent to $5.53 per pound
- eggs, up 4 percent to $2.05 per dozen
- shredded cheddar cheese, up 3 percent to $4.59 per pound
- potatoes, up 2 percent to $2.74 for a 5-pound bag
These items showed modest retail price decreases compared to a year ago:
- flour, down 9 percent to $2.52 for a 5-pound bag
- bacon, down 8 percent to $4.44 per pound
- apples, down 8 percent to $1.47 per pound
- chicken breast, down 7 percent to $3.28 per pound
- whole milk, down 6 percent to $3.45 per gallon
- vegetable oil, down 6 percent to $2.67 for a 32-ounce bottle
- bagged salad, down 5 percent to $2.47 per pound
- white bread, down 3 percent to $1.75 per 20-ounce loaf
Price checks of alternative milk and egg choices not included in the overall marketbasket survey average revealed the following: 1/2 gallon regular milk, $2.24; 1/2 gallon organic milk, $4.47; and one dozen “cage-free” eggs, $3.57.
The year-to-year direction of the marketbasket survey tracks closely with the federal government’s Consumer Price Index (https://www.bls.gov/cpi/) 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,” Anderson said.
Using the “food at home and away from home” percentage across-the-board, the farmer’s share of this $53.87 marketbasket would be $8.62.
AFBF, the nation’s largest general farm organization, began conducting informal quarterly marketbasket surveys of retail food price trends in 1989. The series includes a spring picnic survey, summer cookout survey, fall harvest survey and Thanksgiving survey.
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. A total of 86 shoppers in 29 states participated in the latest survey, conducted in March.