For the first time since spring 2014, Indiana Farm Bureau’s “market basket” survey of grocery store prices has indicated an overall decrease in food prices.
Lower retail prices for several foods, including eggs, cheese and beef, were responsible for the decrease.
The informal survey shows that the total cost of the 16 items on the survey was $52.61, down 71 cents from the fall survey. Of the items on the survey, seven decreased in price.
“This will be welcome news for shoppers, but it’s also good news for farmers – who also have to buy their food in grocery stores,” said INFB 2nd Vice President Isabella Chism, who farms with her family near Kokomo.
The item that saw the largest decrease was eggs, which are up slightly from last spring but down sharply – 82 cents per dozen – from the fall survey.
“This shows the effect of the HPAI (High Pathogenic Avian Influenza) event last year,” said John Anderson, AFBF’s deputy chief economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation. “Prices soared in the latter half of last year but are working their way back down as increasing production has started to catch up with demand, which has moderated prices somewhat,” he said.
Beef is also lower compared to last fall and the first quarter of 2015. Retail beef prices peaked in early 2015 at record high levels.
“Since then, a combination of increasing beef production, weaker exports and lower competing meat prices have led to modest price declines,” Anderson said.
Prices for dairy products also provided some good news for shoppers. While the price of milk rose slightly from the fall, the fall price was the lowest for milk since 2010, and the price on this survey remains below spring 2015. The price of shredded cheese also dropped significantly.
The items showing price decreases from the fall 2015 survey were: eggs, down 82 cents per dozen to $2.26; shredded cheddar cheese, down 69 cents per pound $4.12; bagged salad mix, down 36 cents for a 1-pound bag to $2.06; sirloin tip roast, down 31 cents/pound to $5.56; ground chuck, down 24 cents/pound to $4.32; potatoes, down 2 cents to $2.73 for a 5-pound bag; and boneless chicken breasts, down 1 cent/pound to $3.36.
Items that increased were: bacon, up 64 cents to $4.85/pound; apples, up 37 cents to $1.87/pound; milk, up 11 cents/gallon to $2.78; orange juice, up 10 cents for a half-gallon jug to $3.62; cereal, up 20 cents for a 10-ounce box to $3.15; flour, up 13 cents for a 5-pound bag to $2.31; vegetable oil, up 13 cents for a 32-ounce bottle to $2.47; sliced deli ham, up 4 cents/pound to $5.65; and white bread, up 2 cents for a 20-ounce loaf to $1.50.
The INFB survey is part of a nationwide survey compiled by the American Farm Bureau Federation from data supplied by state Farm Bureaus. Volunteer shoppers around the country participate in the survey by collecting prices in their local grocery stores. A total of 87 shoppers – 23 from Indiana – in 28 states participated in the latest survey, which was conducted in March.
AFBF, the nation’s largest general farm organization, has been conducting the informal quarterly market basket survey of retail food price trends since 1989. The series includes a spring survey, summer cookout survey, fall survey and Thanksgiving survey.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans spend just under 10 percent of their disposable annual income on food, the lowest average of any country in the world.
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 $52.61 market basket would be $8.42.