Spring Picnic Food Survey

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Lower retail prices for several foods, including salad, orange juice, shredded cheddar, ground chuck, sirloin tip roast, vegetable oil, white bread, ground chuck, deli ham and orange juice, resulted in a slight decrease in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Spring Picnic Market Basket Survey.

The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $53.28, down $.59 or about 1 percent compared to a survey conducted a year ago. Of the 16 items surveyed, 10 decreased and six increased in average price.

Prices on the beef items in the Market Basket — ground chuck and sirloin tip roast — are lower compared with the first quarter of 2015. Retail beef prices peaked in early 2015 at record high levels. Since then, a combination of increasing beef production, weaker exports, and lower competing meat prices have led to modest price declines.

Items showing retail price decreases from a year ago included:

  • Bagged salad, down 11 percent to $2.20 per pound
  • Orange juice, down 8 percent to $3.21 per half-gallon
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, down 7 percent to $4.29 per pound
  • Whole milk, down 6 percent to $3.23 per gallon
  • Ground chuck, down 5 percent to $4.36 per pound
  • Vegetable oil, down 5 percent to $2.55 for a 32-ounce bottle
  • White bread, down 3 percent to $1.69 per 20-ounce loaf
  • Flour, down 1 percent to $2.49 for a 5-pound bag
  • Sirloin tip roast, down 1 percent to $5.65 per pound
  • Potatoes, down 1 percent to $2.71 for a 5-pound bag

The following items showed modest retail price increase compared to a year ago:

  • apples, up 12 percent to $1.64 per pound
  • Eggs, up 9 percent to $2.23 per dozen
  • Bacon, up 8 percent to $4.78 per pound
  • Toasted oat cereal, up 6 percent to $3.31 for a 9-ounce box
  • Chicken breast, up 3 percent to $3.37 per pound
  • Deli ham, up 1 percent to $5.57 per pound

As retail grocery prices have increased gradually over time, the share of the average food dollar that 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 percent, according to the Agriculture Department’s revised Food Dollar Series.

Using the “food at home and away from home” percentage across-the-board, the farmer’s share of this $53.28 Market Basket would be $8.52. According to USDA, Americans spend just under 10 percent of their disposable annual income on food, the lowest average of any country in the world.

A total of 87 shoppers in 28 states participated in the latest survey, conducted in March.

Source:  meatingplace.com, 3/24/2016

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