Kentucky’s retail food prices jump 5.7 percent in third quarter

Posted on Oct 17, 2013

Louisville, KY (October 17, 2013) – The latest Marketbasket Survey, conducted by the Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) Federation in September 2013, indicates that average retail food prices in supermarkets across the state made dramatic increases during the third quarter of the year. According to the survey, the total cost of 40 basic grocery items was $119.15. These results – $6.45, or 5.7 percent, higher than the same list of items reported in the previous quarter – are the highest total price recorded in the survey’s four-decade history.

Today’s Marketbasket Survey total not only reflects a 2.8 percent increase over the average price reported in the third quarter of 2012, but it may also imply that Kentucky is finally catching up to national retail food price trends. In four of the last six Marketbasket Surveys, overall decreases in retail food prices were reported across the Commonwealth while national food prices moved slowly but steadily upward.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent Consumer Price Index (CPI) data revealed that food-at-home prices increased nationally by 0.1 percent in the last reported month (August). Overall, the CPI data shows that the national average price for food at home has increased in four of the last five months and grown by an overall total of 1.0 percent over the past 12 months.

Marketbasket Survey specifics: Just three months after Kentucky Farm Bureau’s last Marketbasket Survey reported falling prices in every major food category – beef, dairy, fruits and vegetables, grain, pork, and poultry – the third quarter brought completely opposite results. For the first time in more than five years, all six categories in the survey simultaneously experienced an increase in average price. The fruits and vegetables category showed the greatest total gain with an overall average price jump of 10.7 percent ($2.05). Idaho potatoes had the greatest single-item growth with an average price increase of $1.77 per 10-lb. bag. Overall, 28 of the 40 items in the Marketbasket Survey experienced increases in average price, 11 decreased and one item (2% milk) was unchanged.

The Marketbasket Survey’s top three average price increases reported for items in the third quarter of 2013 were:

ITEM JUN 2013 SEP 2013 PRICE INCREASE
Idaho Potatoes $3.59/10lbs    $5.36/10lbs +$1.77/10lbs
+49.3%
Sliced Bacon $3.72/lb    $4.47/lb +$0.75/lb
+20.2%
Mild Cheddar Cheese $4.32/lb    $4.87/lb +$0.55/lb
+12.7%
Agricultural Economics in Food Prices: Whether or not grocery prices fluctuate from quarter to quarter, it remains a fact that Americans continue to enjoy some of the lowest food prices in the world. Shoppers in the U.S. spend only about 10 percent of their disposable income on food each year. Those costs remain far lower than any other country in the world thanks to many of the agricultural efficiencies utilized in America. Today the average U.S. farmer produces enough food and fiber to provide for about 154 people – a significant jump from an average of 19 people per farmer back in 1940.

Yet while more food is now being produced on less land, the farmer’s share of the retail food dollar in America is down. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Dollar Series, a farmer earns less than 16 cents per dollar spent on food, down significantly from the 31 cents earned in 1980.

Survey Origins: Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation has conducted its regional Marketbasket Survey over the past four decades as a tool to reflect local retail food pricing trends and their relationship to what farmers receive for their raw commodities. Cities reporting on the Kentucky Farm Bureau Marketbasket Survey for the third quarter of 2013 include: Alexandria, Augusta, Bardstown, Brandenburg, Eddyville, Elkton, Flatwoods, Glasgow, Grayson, Hillview, Hopkinsville, Lawrenceburg, Lexington, Madisonville, Mayfield, Munfordville, Nancy, Owensboro, Owenton, Owingsville, Powderly, Richmond, Russellville, Salyersville, Scottsville, Shelbyville, Stanford and Walton.

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