WASHINGTON, D.C., April
4, 2005, AgPRonline: Retail prices for food at the supermarket
rose just under 2 percent in the first quarter of 2005, according
to the latest American Farm Bureau Federation marketbasket survey.
According to the informal survey, the total cost of 16 basic grocery
items in the 2005 first quarter was $39.53, an increase of 66 cents
from the 2004 fourth quarter survey.
Although the survey showed food prices up from the fourth quarter,
they are down slightly from a year ago and almost exactly the average
of the proceeding four quarters in 2004. “This suggests that
the somewhat volatile situation of the past year may be stabilizing,”
said AFBF Senior Economist Terry Francl. “Not only were agricultural
commodities subject to some fairly wide price swings due to supply
and demand conditions in 2004, but higher energy prices added to
transportation and processing in the farm-to-retail price spread.”
Despite the slight increase in average prices found by AFBF, Americans
spend just 10 percent of their disposable income on food annually,
the lowest average of any country in the world.
Of the 16 items surveyed, 12 increased and four decreased in average
price compared to the 2004 fourth quarter survey.
Flour showed the largest increase, up 22 cents per 5-pound bag
to $1.68, followed by bacon, which rose 14 cents per pound to $3.25.
Eggs and apples rose 9 cents to $1.08 per dozen and $1.13 per pound,
Other items that increased in price:
- Whole fryers, up 7 cents per pound, to $1.21;
- Whole milk, up 7 cents per gallon, to $3.05;
- Sirloin tip roast, up 6 cents per pound, to $3.76;
- Toasted oat cereal, up 6 cents to $3.13 for a 10-oz. box;
- Russet potatoes, up 5 cents to $1.80 per 5-pound bag;
- Ground chuck, up 3 cents to $2.60 per pound;
- Pork chops, up 1 cent to $3.30 per pound; and
- Cheddar cheese, up 1 cent to $3.77 per pound.
“Meat and dairy products were just slightly higher in the
first quarter, reflecting an ongoing tight supply and demand situation,”
said Francl. Improved exports for broilers and processed poultry
parts as well as a slightly earlier than usual Easter season –
which always prompts egg demand – played a role in the increased
prices for whole fryers and eggs, according to Francl.
Items that decreased in price from the fourth quarter of 2004 were:
a 32-oz. jar of mayonnaise, down 9 cents to $3.18; a 32-oz. bottle
of corn oil, down 8 cents to $2.70; vegetable oil, down 6 cents
per 32-oz. bottle to $2.46; and white bread, down 1 cent per 20-oz.
loaf to $1.43.
Despite steady increases in grocery store average prices over time,
the share of the average food dollar received by America's farm
and ranch families has actually dropped. “This reflects a
long-standing trend,” said Francl. “Thirty years ago
farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures.
Now it is only about 22 percent, according to Agriculture Department
Using that across-the-board percentage, the farmer's share of this
quarter's marketbasket average total would be $8.70.
AFBF, the nation's largest general farm organization, conducts
its informal quarterly marketbasket survey as a tool to reflect
retail food price trends. A total of 84 volunteer shoppers in 19
states participated in this latest survey, conducted during the
last week of February and first week of March.