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News - Kentucky’s retail food prices increase in third quarter of 2012


  • October 16, 2012

 The latest Marketbasket Survey, conducted by the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation in September 2012, indicates that average retail food prices in supermarkets across the state have increased during the third quarter of the year. According to the survey, the total cost of 40 basic grocery items was $115.91. This total reflects an increase of $2.88, or 2.6 percent, from the same list of items reported in the previous quarter.

While the Marketbasket Survey’s third quarter prices did increase, it is the first time that the average cost of retail food has gone up in Kentucky since the second quarter of 2011. The newest total is actually $1.15, or 1.0 percent, lower than the same reporting period in 2011. Five years ago the average cost of the same 40 surveyed grocery items was $99.15. This chart illustrates the Marketbasket Survey’s quarter-by-quarter pricing totals trend from the previous five years.

Even though Kentucky’s most recent retail food price results reflect only moderate changes, they did not fare as well as some national trends. The American Farm Bureau Federation’s national Marketbasket Survey (which monitors the average price of 16 basic grocery items from states across the country) also saw an increase in food costs, but its average total increased approximately 2.0 percent – slightly under Kentucky’s 2.6 percent increase. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index data that was released in Mid-October (reflecting figures through September 2012), revealed that overall national food-at-home prices made no change in the last reported month.

Looking at food prices over a larger sample of time, Kentucky retail food prices actually beat the national trend. Over the past 12 months the national average price for food at home has grown by a total of 0.8 percent while Marketbasket Survey results show today’s Kentucky food prices are almost identical to the totals recorded at the end of 2011.

Marketbasket Survey specifics:
Of the six food groups recorded in Kentucky Farm Bureau’s most recent survey – beef, dairy, fruits and vegetables, grain, pork, and poultry – the poultry category showed the greatest total increase with an overall average price jump of 9.9 percent ($0.82). The pork category made the largest average decrease in price at -2.1 percent (-$0.40). Half-gallon vanilla ice cream had the greatest single-item increase with an average price jump of $0.48, while the highest single-item decrease was cut-up chicken fryers, dropping an average of $0.42 per pound. Overall, 22 of the 40 items in this survey experienced increases in average price, 17 decreased, and one went unchanged (16 oz. canned tomatoes).

The Marketbasket Survey’s top five average price increases reported for items in the third quarter of 2012 were:

ITEM   JUN 2012   SEP 2012 PRICE INCREASE
Vanilla Ice Cream $3.11 / ½-gal.  $3.59 / ½-gal.  +$0.48 / ½-gal.
+15.4%
 
American Cheese $3.19 / 24 slices $3.64 / 24 slices  +$0.45 / 24 slices
+14.1%
 
T-Bone Steak $8.93 / lb. $9.35 / lb. +$0.42 / lb.
+4.7%
 
Grade A Large Eggs $1.40 / doz.   $1.76 / doz.   +$0.36 / doz.
+25.7%
 
Sirloin Tip Roast   $4.72 / lb.   $5.07 / lb.   +$0.35 / lb.
+7.4%

The Marketbasket Survey’s top five average price decreases reported for items in the third quarter of 2012 were:

ITEM   JUN 2012 SEP 2012   PRICE DECREASE
Cut-up Chicken Fryers $1.86 / lb.   $1.44 / lb. -$0.42 / lb.
-22.6%
 
Whole Smoked Ham   $2.86 / lb.   $2.55 / lb.   -$0.31 / lb.
-10.8%
 
Center Cut Pork Chops  $4.00 / lb.   $3.75 / lb.   -$0.25 / lb.
-6.3%
 
Lettuce   $1.26 / head   $2.61 / 32 oz.  -$0.15 / 32 oz.
-11.9%
 

Vegetable Oil  
$2.76 / 32 oz.  $2.61 / 32 oz.  -$0.15 / 32 oz.
-5.4%

Agricultural Economics in Food Prices:
Looking ahead, the USDA Economic Research Service says that the full extent of this summer’s severe and widespread drought on commodity prices is still unknown. Projected shortages in corn, soybeans and other field crops will, however, have an impact on retail food prices. It will take a few months before the crop loss totals are completely recognized and can be felt by consumers, but drought-related retail price increases could be seen as early as this fall and into 2013. The drought is also projected to raise retail costs for beef, pork, poultry and dairy products as higher feed costs negatively impact meat product prices.

Even when grocery prices seem to fluctuate from quarter to quarter, 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 dramatic 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 new 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 2012 include: Augusta, Bardstown, Brandenburg, Campbellsville, Danville, Elkton, Glasgow, Grayson, Harrodsburg, Hopkinsville, Louisville, Madisonville, Mayfield, Maysville, Munfordville, Murray, Nancy, Owensboro, Owingsville, Powderly, Richmond, Russell, Russellville, Shelbyville, Stanford and Walton.

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