Arizona, January 6, 2011 – For the second time in a row, Arizona retail food prices at the supermarket are down in the fourth 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 $45.44, down $1.04 or about 2% lower than the third quarter of 2010. Comparatively, the American Farm Bureau Federation’s national survey was $46.97, up 80 cents or 2% higher compared to the third quarter of 2010.
This Arizona fourth quarter Market Basket is down 45 cents compared to one year ago at this time.
“Overall, retail food prices have been relatively stable in 2010,” said Julie Murphree, Arizona Farm Bureau Public Relations, Marketing and Education Director. “And while this down-in-price market basket is a bit of a surprise to us, keep in mind Arizona’s very competitive grocery store market; plus Arizona has been lagging behind the national economic recovery making it harder for Arizona food retailers to raise their prices especially for some families hard pressed to purchase just the basics.”
For 2011, Arizona Farm Bureau expects retail food prices to increase modestly.
“Moving forward, a key inflation driver will be energy prices putting pressure on retail food prices,” Murphree added. “This is evident as oil prices are getting precariously close to that $100-a-barrel price. We have not seen oil prices moving this high since 2008. As farmers and ranchers, we’ve already felt the inflation pinch with the rising costs for the fuel and fertilizer used to produce today’s food. Farmers always feel the pinch ahead of the grocery shopper; but this gives consumers time to recalibrate their food budgets for savings. It’s one of the reason’s Arizona Farm Bureau is committed to regularly doing this informal survey.”
Click here to access an entire menu focused on those food items down in price in the fourth quarter and designed around stretching your food dollar.
“As farmers and ranchers, we take pride in providing our neighbors with a safe and abundant food supply that remains affordable overall,” said Sharla Mortimer, chair of the Arizona Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee and beef producer from Dewey, Arizona. “Like all careful savers in our current economic times, we are concerned about food prices too. And as farmers, we’re also concerned with the rising costs to produce the food.”
Of the 16 items surveyed in Arizona, nine decreased, six increased and one remained the same, compared to the 2010 third quarter survey. The national survey shows six decreased, nine increased, and one stayed the same.
In Arizona, off-the-shelf prices for boneless chicken breast showed the greatest decrease in price down $1.09 to $3.26 a pound; the 32 ounce bottle of vegetable oil down 47 cents to $2.02 a bottle; russet potatoes down 41 cents to $1.94 for the 5-pound bag; salad mix down 32 cents to $2.67 a pound; shredded cheese down 30 cents to $4.13 a pound; toasted oat cereal down 24 cents to $2.51 for the 8.9-oz box; milk down 24 cents to $2.42 a gallon; red delicious apples down 16 cents a pound to $1.33; and a 20-oz loaf of white bread down 3 cents to $1.39.
Deli ham showed the largest price increase up 99 cents to $4.91 a pound. The other items that increased in price were flour up 42 cents to $2.17 for the 5-pound bag; eggs up 37 cents to $1.64 a dozen; orange juice up 26 cents to $3.15 a half gallon; bacon up 13 cents to $3.68 a pound and ground chuck up 5 cents to $3.30 a pound.
Sirloin tip roast remained the same at $4.92 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 $45.44 Market Basket total would be $8.63.
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.