Market survey finds staple food prices slightly lower than last year

By Whitney Forman-Cook

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2015 - Americans are paying slightly less for a supermarket basket of 16 staples than they did a year ago, thanks in part to lower prices for dairy, bacon and apples and a drop in energy prices, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation's annual Fall Harvest Marketbasket Survey.

The survey results released Monday showed the total average cost of 16 staple food items was $54.14, down 12 cents, or less than 1 percent, from last year's survey. A total of 69 shoppers in 24 states participated in the latest survey, conducted in September.

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Ten items decreased in price: Whole milk was down 17 percent to $3.14 a gallon; bacon, fell 11 percent to $4.55 per pound; apples, down 7 percent to $1.45 a pound; shredded cheddar, down 5 percent to $4.56 a pound; flour, down 4 percent to $2.37 per five-pound bag; bagged salad, down 4 percent to $2.46 a pound; vegetable oil, down 3 percent to $2.61 for a 32-ounce bottle; russet potatoes, down 3 percent to $2.64 for a five-pound bag; white bread, down 1 percent to $1.69 for a 20-ounce loaf; chicken breast, down 1 percent to $3.42 a pound.

While the price of six items increased: The price of eggs was up 56 percent to $3.04 a dozen; orange juice, up 7 percent to $3.43 a half-gallon; ground chuck, up 6 percent to $4.55 a pound; toasted oat cereal, up 3 percent to $3.09 for a nine-ounce box; sirloin tip roast, up 3 percent to $5.67 a pound; sliced deli ham, up 1 percent to $5.47 a pound.

AFBF attributed lower milk and pork prices to higher supply, and said low energy prices - which affect the cost of processing, packaging and transportation of food - also had a hand in keeping prices low.

On the other hand, “We saw higher egg prices because we lost so much production earlier this year due to the avian influenza situation in Iowa, Minnesota and some other Midwestern states,” John Anderson, AFBF's deputy chief economist, said in a release.
Americans spend just under 10 percent of their disposable annual income on food, the lowest average of any country in the world. But only 16 percent of a consumer's retail food expenditures ends up in farmers' pockets, compared to the 1970s when they received about a third of the proceeds, according to USDA's revised Food Dollar Series.
Using this 16 percent figure and the AFBF's survey results, farmers received only $8.66 out of this year's fall food basket value.

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