Slight Increase in Retail Food Prices to Start 2013

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation's first Semi-Annual Marketbasket Survey - shoppers paid about two-percent more for food at the grocery store at the beginning of 2013 compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals.

To start 2013 - the total was $51.54 - one-dollar more than the prior quarter. Of the 16 items surveyed - 11 increased in average price while five decreased.

Overall - AFBF Deputy Chief Economist John Anderson says food prices have remained remarkably stable over the past two or three quarters - particularly given the run-up in energy prices over this most recent quarter.

Looking ahead - Anderson says food prices are expected to rise three to four-percent during 2013. He says that is slightly higher than the average rate of inflation over the past 10 years.

Anderson explains that meat prices rose in price a bit more than most other items in the first quarter. Deli ham prices were up 50-cents per pound, chicken breasts cost 22-cents more per pound and ground chuck prices were up 19-cents per pound. The prices for sirloin tip roast and bacon were up 11-cents per pound and seven-cents per pound, respectively.

Retail prices also increased for flour, shredded cheddar cheese, bagged salad, Russet potatoes, vegetable oil and apples. Only whole milk, white bread, orange juice, toasted oat cereal and eggs decreased in price.

From 1989 to 2012 - the American Farm Bureau Federation conducted an informal quarterly marketbasket survey of retail food price trends. This year - the marketbasket series has been updated to include two semi-annual surveys of everyday food items, a summer cookout survey and the annual Thanksgiving survey. Eighty-six shoppers in 24 states participated in this latest survey - conducted in March.

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