Arizona Food Prices Break Trend; Slight Increase at Grocery Store
04/08/2010

This quarter’s menu and recipes are available on fillyourplate.org

Online PR News – 08-April-2010 – – Arizona, April 6, 2010 – For the first time in 15 months, Arizona retail food prices at the supermarket increased in the first quarter of 2010, according to the latest Arizona Farm Bureau Federation Market Basket Survey. The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 basic grocery items was $45.96, up .07 cents from the fourth quarter of 2009. Comparatively, the American Farm Bureau Federation’s national survey was $45.54, up $2.64 or 6% higher compared to the fourth quarter of 2009.

Compared to one year ago the Arizona 2010 first-quarter Market Basket items decreased $8.47, a drop of nearly
16 percent.

“The Foods that declined the most in retail price are among the least-processed items in our Market Basket,” said Sharla Mortimer, chair of the Arizona Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee. “Seasonality of foods also affects prices at the grocery store. Economical foods in season, allow for more creativity in the kitchen.”

To access an entire menu focused on those food items down in price in the second quarter and designed around stretching your food dollar, go to www.fillyourplate.org. Look for the “Stretch Your Food Dollar” menu and the additional food savings tips.

“Demand recovery was the main driver behind slightly higher retail prices.” said Arizona Farm Bureau Public Relations Director Julie Murphree. “Consumers are slowly getting back to their normal spending patterns.”

“Energy costs moved higher during the first quarter of the year and hit an 18-month high at the end of March,” Murphree added. “The effect of increased energy costs for transportation, processing, and more will likely influence retail food prices to a greater degree during the second quarter of the year.”

Of the 16 items surveyed in Arizona, nine decreased and seven increased, compared to the 2009 fourth-quarter survey. The national survey shows two decreased and 14 increased.

In Arizona, Russet potatoes showed the greatest decrease in price down $1.04 to $1.71 for the 5-pound bag; Salad mix down 64 cents to $2.30 a pound; Sirloin tip roast down .38 cents to $4.39 a pound; boneless chicken breast down .33 cents to $3.84 a pound; a 5-pound bag of flour down 28 cents to $2.27; toasted oat cereal down 13 cents to $2.76 for the 8.9 ounce box; a gallon of whole milk down 10 cents to $2.19; ground beef down 6 cents to $ 3.36 a pound; and bacon down 3cents to $3.02 a pound.

Vegetable oil showed the largest price increase up 88 cents to $3.22 for the 32-ounce bottle. The other items that increased in price were orange juice up 39 cents to $3.33 a half gallon; Shredded cheddar cheese up 31 cents to $4.26 a pound; a 20-oz loaf of white bread up 14 cents to $1.58; eggs up 8 cents to $1.81 a dozen; red delicious apples up 3cents a pound to $1.22; and deli ham up 2 cents to $4.70 a pound.

As retail grocery prices have gradually increased over time, the share of the average food dollar that America’s farm and ranch families receive has dropped. “In the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures for food eaten at home and away from home, on average. That figure has decreased steadily over time and is now just 19 percent, according to Agriculture Department statistics,” explains John Anderson, American Farm Bureau Economist.

Using the “food at home and away from home” percentage across-the-board, the Arizona farmer’s share of this quarter’s $45.96 Market Basket total would be $8.73.

The Farm Bureau Market Basket Survey is unscientific, but serves as a gauge of actual price trends across the state. Bargain shoppers statewide should find individual items at prices comparable to the Farm Bureau survey averages and certainly cheaper with discounts and in-store specials. Arizona Farm Bureau seeks to identify the best in-store price, excluding promotional coupons and special deals.

About the Arizona Farm Bureau
Arizona Farm Bureau began a quarterly Market Basket starting the fourth quarter of 2006. The Arizona Farm Bureau is a grassroots organization dedicated to preserving and improving the Agriculture industry through member involvement in education, political activities, programs and services. Go to http://www.azfb.org to learn more. To obtain “Stretch Your Food Dollar” menu and nutrition information go to http://www.fillyourplate.org.
As a member services organization, individuals can become a member by contacting the Farm Bureau. For information on member benefits call 480.635.3609.