Grocery prices are down slightly from a year ago and remain almost unchanged from last fall, according to Indiana Farm Bureau’s semi-annual “market basket” survey.
The average price on the 16 food items included in the informal survey decreased from spring 2013 by 51 cents for an overall total of $48.22. The same items were down seven cents from the fall 2013 survey.
Eight of the items in the survey decreased in price compared to spring 2013.
These results differ significantly from the national survey coordinated by the American Farm Bureau Federation. The national survey, which combines the results from 27 states including Indiana, showed that the total cost of the 16 food items was $53.27, up $1.73 from a year ago.
“Farmers are consumers, too, so we’re just as glad as anybody else when food prices don’t rise,” noted Isabella Chism, IFB 2nd vice president and chair of the IFB Women’s Leadership Committee, which coordinates the survey. “But whether prices rise or fall, it’s important to remember that the farmer’s share of our food dollar remains really low. On average, 15.5 cents out of every food dollar goes to the farmer, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The remaining 84.5 percent goes to the other parts of the food industry – those that get that food from the farm to our grocery stores and restaurants.”
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,” stated John Anderson, AFBF’s deputy chief economist.
The item showing the greatest decrease in Indiana’s survey from spring 2013 to spring 2014 was sirloin tip roast, which dropped by 70 cents per pound to $3.86. The other beef product on the list, ground chuck, increased in price, but only by 2 cents/pound to $3.70/pound.
Bacon, on the other hand, increased by 27 cents per pound to $4.12. Eggs also increased, rising 14 cents/dozen to $1.92.
“Several typical breakfast items increased in price, accounting for much of the modest increase in the (AFBF) market basket,” Anderson said.
Other meat products also showed decreases of varying amounts, including a pound of sliced deli ham, down 16 cents to $5.08, and 1 pound of boneless chicken breasts, down 37 cents to $2.54.
Other items that decreased were bagged salad mix, down 23 cents for a one-pound bag to $2.11; a 10-ounce box of cereal, down 19 cents to $2.66; a gallon of whole milk, down 15 cents to $3.12; a 32-ounce bottle of vegetable oil, down 11 cents to $2.88; and orange juice, down three cents for a half gallon to $3.30.
Besides the meats and eggs mentioned earlier, other items that increased were apples, up 32 cents/pound to $1.88; shredded cheddar cheese, up 32 cents to $4.33/pound; five pounds of flour, up 13 cents to $2.55; bread, up 12 cents for a 20-ounce loaf to $1.53; and five pounds of potatoes, up 11 cents to $2.64.
The year-to-year direction of the market basket survey tracks closely with the federal Consumer Price Index (www.bls.gov/cpi/) report for food at home.
AFBF, the nation’s largest general farm organization, conducted an informal quarterly market basket survey of retail food price trends from 1989 to 2012. In 2013, the market basket series was updated to include two semi-annual surveys of “everyday” food items, a summer cookout survey and the annual Thanksgiving survey.
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 89 shoppers in 27 states participated in the latest AFBF survey, conducted in March.