This quarter’s Stretch Your Dollar menu and recipes are available on fillyourplate.org
Arizona retail food prices at the supermarket slightly increased in the second quarter of 2012, according to the latest Arizona Farm Bureau Federation Marketbasket Survey. The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 basic grocery items was $51.19, up 40 cents or about 1% above the first quarter of 2012. Comparatively, the American Farm Bureau Federation’s national survey was $50.91, down $1.57 or about 3% lower compared to the first quarter of 2012; a 28 cent difference between the two.
In Arizona, sirloin tip roast and shredded cheese accounted for the biggest increase in the Marketbasket this quarter.
Wholesale pork prices were generally trending lower at the end of the first quarter. Consumers are seeing the benefit of that as retail prices have followed suit. Wholesale pork prices have since moved higher, which may limit further pork retail price declines over the next quarter.
“While recent Arizona food price rises have been moderate, 2013 could reflect higher food prices for several reasons including the current drought in the Midwest,” explains Murphree. “The U.S. is the biggest producer and shipper of our food and feed grains. This typically keeps our overall food prices more economical than the rest of the world. So we want our corn, wheat, soybean and other grain farmers to keep doing what they do so well. A drought challenges these efforts.”
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 and Yuma County Farm Bureau president. 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.
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, seven decreased, eight increased, and one item stayed the same compared to the 2012 first quarter survey. The national survey quarter-to-quarter comparison shows 12 decreased and 4 increased.
In Arizona, off-the-shelf prices for sliced deli ham showed the greatest decrease in price down 54 cents to $4.57 a pound; flour down 30 cents to $2.24 for the 5-pound bag; ground chuck down 22 cents to $3.61 a pound; white bread down 16 cents to $1.59 for a 20-oz. loaf; apples down 10 cents to $1.34 a pound; bacon down 7 cents to $4.16 a pound and eggs down 4 cents to $1.95 a dozen.
Potatoes remained the same at $2.83 for the 5-pound bag.
Sirloin tip roast showed the largest price increase up $1.04 to $5.89 a pound. The other items that increased in price were shredded cheese up 29 cents to $4.87 a pound; boneless chicken breast up 18 cents to $3.84 a pound; toasted oat cereal up 13 cents to $3.12 for the 8.9 oz box; vegetable oil up 7 cents to $2.58 for the 32 oz bottle; orange juice up 5 cents to $3.06 a half gallon; salad mix up 4 cents to $2.67 for the 1-pound bag and milk up 3 cents to $2.87 a gallon.
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.
Using the “food at home and away from home” percentage across-the-board, the Arizona farmer’s share of this quarter’s $51.19 Market Basket total would be $8.19.
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.
- Go through your pantry and keep it organized so you know what you have
- Check the newspaper for sale items then make a plan where to shop.
- Make a list and stick to it.
- Shop the edges of the store and avoid the items at the ends of the aisles.
- Use grocery store club cards and then compare prices to store brands.
- Buy fresh items, instead of processed items.
- Consider buying frozen vegetables, they are picked fresh, flash frozen immediately and are less expensive and will keep longer.
- 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. Create meals around the items down in price. If you feel you can’t build a menu using an item that is down in price such as orange juice …use citrus slices instead.
- Buy in bulk, but don’t buy more than you can eat.
- Clip and use coupons. Put a ‘C’ next to items on your list that you have a coupon for, it will help you remember to use it at the checkout stand.
- When shopping meat sales items, consider stocking your freezer.
Stretch Your Food Dollar Menu XVIII
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 sliced deli ham, ground chuck, flour, bacon, apples, eggs and white bread. Potatoes remained the same price. To obtain actual recipes for the “Stretch Your Food Dollar Menu XVIII” go to www.fillyourplate.org and click on the recipe tab.
The cost of all the items on the “Stretch Your Food Dollar Menu XVIII” is about $68.74. Note that most of the shopping list items for this quarters menu are non-processed…keeping costs down.
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.