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Retail food prices down for Easter

Lower farm-gate prices lead to lower retail prices for several foods.

Lower retail prices for several foods, including eggs, ground chuck, sirloin tip roast, chicken breasts and toasted oat cereal, resulted in a significant decrease in prices reported in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) "Spring Picnic Marketbasket Survey."

“As expected, due to lower farm-gate prices, we have seen continued declines in retail prices for livestock products, including eggs, beef, chicken, pork and cheese,” AFBF director of market intelligence John Newton said.

The informal survey showed that the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $50.03, down $3.25, or about 6%, compared to a year ago. Of the 16 items surveyed, AFBF reported that 11 items decreased, four increased and one remained the same in average price.

Egg prices are down sharply from a year ago and also are down slightly from the third quarter of 2016, the survey showed.

“Egg prices continue to move back toward long-run average prices following the bird flu of 2014-15,” Newton said. “The Agriculture Department is currently monitoring bird flu detections in the Southeast U.S. If detections continue, retail poultry prices could feel an impact due to lower exports or changes in supply.”

As farm-gate prices for livestock products have declined and remained lower, prices in the retail meat case have become more competitive, Newton added.

Retail price changes from a year ago include:

  • Eggs, down 41% to $1.32/doz.
  • Toasted oat cereal, down 15% to $2.83 for a 9 oz. box.
  • Sirloin tip roast, down 13% to $4.95/lb.
  • Ground chuck, down 10% to $3.92/lb.
  • Chicken breast, down 6% to $3.17/lb.
  • Apples, down 6% to $1.55/lb.
  • Flour, down 5% to $2.36 for a 5 lb. bag
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, down 4% to $4.10/lb.
  • Deli ham, down 3% to $5.42/lb.
  • Bacon, down 3% to $4.65/lb.
  • Potatoes, down 1% to $2.68 for a 5 lb. bag
  • Bagged salad, up 6% to $2.34/lb.
  • White bread, up 2% to $1.72 per 20 oz. loaf.
  • Orange juice, up 1% to $3.22 per half-gallon.
  • Whole milk, up 1% to $3.27/gal.
  • Vegetable oil, no change, at $2.55 for a 32 oz. bottle.

Price checks on alternative milk and egg choices that were not included in the overall marketbasket survey average revealed the following: regular whole milk, $2.10 per half-gallon; organic milk, $4.20 per half-gallon, and cage-free eggs, $3.48/doz.

The year-to-year direction of the marketbasket survey tracks closely with the federal government’s Consumer Price Index report for food consumed at home.

AFBF said as retail grocery prices have increased gradually over time, the share of the average food dollar 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%, according to the Agriculture Department’s revised 'Food Dollar Series,'” Newton said.

AFBF began conducting informal quarterly marketbasket surveys of retail food price trends in 1989. The series includes a spring picnic survey, summer cookout survey, fall harvest survey and Thanksgiving dinner survey.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans spend just under 10% of their disposable annual income on food, the lowest average of any country in the world. A total of 117 shoppers in 31 states participated in the latest AFBF survey, which was conducted in March.

TAGS: Business
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