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October 3, 2013

Mixed Bag in Latest Marketbasket Survey

For more information on Newsline, contact: Kari Barbic, Media Specialist, American Farm Bureau Federation, karib@fb.org.

What are slightly higher food prices a sign of? American Farm Bureau economist John Anderson says the answer might lie with consumers. AFBF’s Johnna Miller has the story.
Miller:Shoppers are paying slightly more for food items at the grocery store compared to the first half of 2013. Higher retail prices for meat items such as boneless chicken breasts and bacon, among other foods, resulted in a slight increase in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s latest Semi-Annual Marketbasket Survey.
Anderson:Compared with the survey we did earlier in the year, prices in our Marketbasket were up about 3 percent. For the most part there was a fairly broad increase uh in prices, but we did have a few items that stand out as having declined. Apples, in particular, and sliced deli ham actually declined fairly substantially. Other broad classes, Other meats like poultry, for instance, vegetables like potatoes, dairy products for the most part were up.
Miller:American Farm Bureau economist John Anderson says agriculture hasn’t had any major weather disasters so far this year, so the issue isn’t on the supply side.
Anderson:We have higher production of chicken and pork and dairy products coming on line in the last two or three months. So it’s not an issue that supplies are down and that’s putting pressure on prices, really. It’s coming from somewhere else and I would note a couple of things. We continue to have fairly high costs in the processing and retailing sector. Energy prices are fairly high. Fuel prices are fairly high.
Miller:Anderson says it looks like the increases have more to do with consumers than what’s happening on farms and ranches, perhaps a sign of consumer optimism.
Anderson:I think the market is somewhat in transition right now and most of the activity is really on the demand side, what’s going on with consumers. There are opportunities to get out there and find bargains. It’s something that I tell people all the time. Retailers particularly lately I think have been very aggressive at featuring certain products and offering really good deals and attractions to get people into their store and it really pays to shop around and look at what’s featured and find ways to stretch your dollar.
Miller:Johnna Miller, Washington.
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