This quarter’s Stretch Your Dollar menu and recipes are available on fillyourplate.org.
Arizona retail food prices at the supermarket are down in the second quarter of 2013, according to the latest Arizona Farm Bureau Federation Marketbasket Survey. The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 basic grocery items was $47.97, down $1.78 or about 3.5% less than the first quarter of 2012.
Compared to this time last year, the 2013 first quarter Marketbasket survey shows that Arizona’s food prices have decreased about 6 percent.
“Everyone is looking to save money and this is a good time to do it,” says Julie Murphree, Communications Director for the Arizona Farm Bureau. “I’d encourage Arizona families to keep hunting for those bargains in our basics like your meats, fruits, vegetables, diary and eggs to stretch your food dollars.”
Of note, American Farm Bureau is now only conducting two quarterly marketbaskets, but Arizona Farm Bureau will continue all four quarters. Arizona Farm Bureau participated in American Farm Bureau’s July 4th Picnic survey of American’s favorite picnic foods, including hot dogs, cheeseburgers, potato salad, baked beans and lemonade. If interested in the numbers, contact Peggy Jo Goodfellow, Marketing Manager for the Arizona Farm Bureau.
To access an entire menu focused on those food items down in price in the first quarter and designed around stretching your food dollar, go to www.fillyourplate.org. Look for the latest “Stretch Your Food Dollar” menu and the additional food savings tips.
Of the 16 items surveyed in Arizona, eleven decreased and five increased compared to the 2013 first quarter survey.
In Arizona, off-the-shelf prices for boneless chicken breast and bacon showed the greatest decrease in price down 74 cents to $2.55 a pound and $4.07 a pound respectively; deli ham down 40 cents to $3.69 a pound; sirloin roast down 25 cents to $5.69 a pound; white bread down 21 cents to $1.19 for the 20-oz loaf; ground chuck down 16 cents to $3.52 a pound; apples down 6 cents to $1.53 a 5-pound bag; shredded cheddar cheese down 5 cents to $4.38 a pound; eggs down 4 cents to $1.86 a dozen; potatoes down 3 cents to $2.32 a 5-pound bag and flour down 1 cents to $2.35 a pound.
Milk showed the largest price increase up 65 cents to $3.07 a gallon. The other items that increased in price were orange juice up 9 cents to $3.26 a half gallon; vegetable oil up 7 cents to $2.49 for a 32 ounce bottle; toasted oat cereal up 5 cents to $3.15 a 8.9-oz box and American salad mix up 5 cents to $2.85 a pound bag. The year-to-year direction of the Marketbasket survey tracks with the federal government’s Consumer Price Index report for food at home.
“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 and is now just 16 percent, according to the United States Department of Agriculture’s revised Food Dollar Series Department statistics,” explains John Anderson, American Farm Bureau Economist. The USDA’s new Food Dollar Series may be found online at http://www.ers.usda.gov/FoodDollar/app/.
Using the “food at home and away from home” percentage across-the-board, the Arizona farmer’s share of this quarter’s $47.97 Marketbasket total would be $7.68.
The Farm Bureau Market Basket Survey is unscientific, but serves as a gauge of actual price trends across the state. Arizona’s 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.
Arizona Farm Bureau’s 18 Money Saving Tips to Stretch Your Food Dollars:
- Sort your pantry and organize to clearly know what’s available. This should be a regular effort in order to make sure you’re using everything you have, not buying unnecessary items and can determine what you really need.
- Create a week-long menu. From the planned menu create your shopping list based on local grocery store circulars you receive in the mail or newspaper.
- When planning your menu, think of ways to maximize the use of the “Stretch Your Food Dollar” menu as a springboard to create your own menu. Gather ideas for meals based on the items down in price from Arizona Farm Bureau’s “Stretch Your Dollar” menus on fillyourplate.org. Let the Farm Bureau’s menus inspire your creativity!
- You’ve created the list; stick to it. If you can stick to your list, you’ll curb impulse spending on items you don’t really need.
- Don’t shop on an empty stomach. Studies suggest you might spend 10 to 15 percent more on your food bill when you’re hungry.
- Don’t take the kids grocery shopping. As with an empty stomach, kids can influence your impulse shopping.
- Stick to the basics. While basic food items like dairy, meat, fruits and vegetables can sometimes seem expensive, you’re gaining more value per unit and certainly more health benefits. The fewer processed food items you purchase, the more you’ll save.
- Regularly survey the weekly grocery store circulars. This will build your knowledge of prices for products you regularly use and give you a sense of which grocery stores tend to have the lowest prices. Take advantage of weekly advertised specials, especially for nonperishable staples.
- Be wary of the coupon trap. Use coupons only for those items you normally buy. Don’t let coupons cost you money by buying items you don’t really need. A sale has no value to you if it means you’re spending beyond your budget. Do take advantage of “ad-matching” since lots of savings can be found here.
- Assess the unit price. This shopping tool lets you compare prices between brands and between sizes. Located on a shelf tag in front of the product, it provides costs in like units for the item. Generally, information is given in cost per ounce, per pound or per count.
- Shop the edges of the store, and if items at the ends of the aisles reflect a super deal buy. As aisle-end items are dramatically marked down, they might be a valuable substitute on your grocery list. But they’re budget busters if they become purchased food items you don’t use in your food preparation.
- Use grocery store club cards; also compare prices to store brands. Store club cards can generate great savings. Plus, while you might love a certain brand, also compare a popular brand to the store brand for price comparisons and possible savings.
- Peak season is prime time to buy fresh produce. The peak of the harvest for fresh fruits and vegetables offers you the best prices and the best quality. Take advantage of this and buy often. To always know what’s in season, go to fillyourplate.org and select the tab “Arizona Produce in Season.”
- When not buying fresh, consider buying frozen. Most frozen vegetables are picked fresh, immediately flash frozen, are less expensive and will keep longer.
- Buy in bulk, but don’t buy more than you will use. Bigger is not always better. Larger-sized packages usually cost less on a per-unit basis. But it’s not a better buy if it’s too large to use before it becomes stale or spoiled.
- Move in on “family pack” savings. Meat departments often have a section that offers larger- sized packages at cents-off-per-pound savings. Repackage these larger sizes into smaller quantities at home and freeze.
- Be flexible at the meat and produce counters. This is one area to be flexible with your list. This allows you to take advantage of unadvertised “in store” specials and switch from one item to another.
- Use open dating codes, especially on perishables to maximize shelf life at home. Open dating is used on perishable and semi-perishable products to let you know at a glance if the product is fresh. Most stores use a “pull date” – the last day the item is offered for sale. This still allows a few days for using at home. For stores that use a “pack date,” especially with meats, inquire how long the product will remain fresh at home.
Stretch Your Food Dollar Menu 22
Arizona Farm Bureau put together a menu to help you stretch your food dollar by utilizing items that have gone down in price. This quarter’s items down in price are boneless chicken breast, bacon, deli ham, sirloin roast, shredded cheese, ground chuck, eggs, apples, potatoes, white bread, and flour To obtain actual recipes for the “Stretch Your Food Dollar Menu 22” go to www.fillyourplate.org and click on the recipe tab.
The cost of all the items on the “Stretch Your Food Dollar Menu 22” is about $75.70. Note that most of the shopping list items for this quarters menu are non-processed…keeping costs down.
The importance of improving farm practices is not lost on Arizona Farm Bureau members. “To feed the majority of Americans, crop and livestock agriculture must continually become more efficient, and in many cases, larger to spread energy and labor costs across more acres to help stabilize prices at the grocery store,” said John Boelts, vegetable farmer from Yuma, Arizona. Boelts, who said the cost for just one refueling of one large tillage tractor can be more than $600, explained that labor and energy are the two largest farm operating costs that must be controlled
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 www.azfb.org to learn more. To obtain “Stretch Your Food Dollar” menu and nutrition information go to 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.
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