WASHINGTON, Sept. 25, 2017 - Bacon led the pack in price increases for some commonly purchased food items included in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Fall Harvest Marketbasket Survey.

Compared to a year ago, the price of bacon is up 19 percent, to $5.24 per pound, said the survey, which reported an overall increase of 3 percent for the 16-item basket – $51.13 for all the items, compared to $49.70 last fall.

Meanwhile, the farmer’s share of the total is about $8, down from $8.45 in last year’s survey, AFBF said.

“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,” said John Newton, AFBF’s director of market intelligence. “Since then, that figure has decreased steadily and is now about 15.6 percent, according to the Agriculture Department’s revised Food Dollar Series.”

Newton cited the popularity of bacon, which shows no sign of abating, in explaining its price increase. “Bacon is a sexy food item in restaurants and everywhere else, creating an inventory decline and thus a price increase,” Newton said.

“We saw a rally in wholesale bacon prices this summer and fall which is being reflected at the retail level,” Newton said.

Other foods that saw an increases were chicken breast, up 9 percent to $3.13 per pound; flour, up 7 percent to $2.37 per 5-pound bag; orange juice, up 6 percent to $3.46 per half-gallon; and vegetable oil, the price of which has risen 5 percent to $2.52 for a 32-ounce bottle.

As for chicken, “Supply and demand for chicken breasts is tight, which is why retail prices are higher,” Newton said.

The rise in orange juice prices can be attributed to the ever-decreasing supply – from 10 million tons in 2007-2008 to less than 6 million in 2015-16, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Citrus greening has played a large role in that decline, but now Hurricane Irma has delivered another blow to the state’s citrus growers, who may lose as much as 70 percent of their crop.

Of the 16 items in the basket, 12 saw increases and four decreases. One of those was eggs, down 3 percent to $1.44 per dozen.

“Egg supplies are fully rebuilt from what we saw a few years ago and we are seeing egg prices continue to come back to where they were prior to the bird flu a few years ago,” Newton said. 

Other items that decreased in price were bagged salad, down 16 percent to $2.41 per pound; ground chuck, down 3 percent to $3.99 per pound; and potatoes, down 2 percent to $2.68 for a 5-pound bag.

AFBF also looked at prices for alternative milk choices that were not included in the overall marketbasket survey. A half-gallon of regular milk was $2.07 and a half-gallon of organic milk was $4.27.

Other prices in the informal survey:

  • sliced deli ham, up 3 percent to $5.62 per pound
  • whole milk, up 3 percent to $2.93 per gallon
  • white bread, up 2 percent to $1.61 for a 20-ounce loaf
  • toasted oat cereal, up 1 percent to $2.84 for a 9-ounce box
  • shredded cheddar, up 1 percent to $4.11 per pound
  • apples, up 1 percent to $1.61 per pound
  • sirloin tip roast, up 3 percent to $5.17 per pound

“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,” AFBF said. A total of 81 shoppers in 25 states participated in the latest survey, conducted in September.

AFBF began conducting the quarterly marketbasket surveys of retail food price trends in 1989. The series includes a Spring Picnic survey, Summer Cookout survey, Fall Harvest survey and a Thanksgiving survey.


For more news, go to www.Agri-Pulse.com