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Retail Food Prices Rise Slightly in First Quarter

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 2, 2007 – Retail food prices at the supermarket increased slightly in the first quarter of 2007, according to the latest American Farm Bureau Federation Marketbasket Survey. The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 basic grocery items in the first quarter of 2007 was $41.34, up about 4 percent or $1.65 from the fourth quarter of 2006.

Of the 16 items surveyed, 12 increased and four decreased in average price compared to the 2006 fourth-quarter survey. Compared to one year ago, the overall cost for the marketbasket items showed a modest increase, up 1.5 percent.

A dozen large eggs showed the largest price increase, up 33 cents to $1.51. A 5-pound bag of flour increased by 30 cents to $1.90; bacon increased by 24 cents per pound to $3.44; and pork chops rose 22 cents per pound to $3.41.

Other items that increased in price: regular whole milk and Russet potatoes, both up 15 cents, to $3.12 per gallon and $2.46 for a 5-pound bag; corn oil, up 14 cents to $2.77 for a 32-oz. bottle; mayonnaise, up 12 cents to $3.35 for a 32-oz. jar; ground chuck, up 11 cents to $2.65 per pound; sirloin tip roast, up 10 cents to $3.72 per pound; vegetable oil, up 9 cents to $2.57 for a 32-oz. bottle; and toasted oat cereal, up 3 cents to $2.85 for a 10-oz. box.

One pound of cheddar cheese showed the largest average retail price decrease, down 10 cents to $3.69. Other items that decreased in price: bread, down 9 cents for a 20-oz, loaf to $1.49; whole fryers, down 8 cents to $1.11; and red delicious apples, down 6 cents to $1.30 per pound.

“For the past several years, eggs have typically increased modestly in retail price from the fourth quarter of one year to the first quarter of the next and this year is no different,” said AFBF Senior Economist Terry Francl. “Over the past six months or so, increased demand for grains, including soybeans, has resulted in higher purchase prices for processors. This in turn has led to higher retail prices for flour, corn oil, vegetable oil and mayonnaise.”

In addition, “Although red meat products were up somewhat from the last quarter of 2006, they are at or below year-ago retail prices,” Francl said.

The share of the average food dollar that America’s farm and ranch families receive has dropped over time, despite gradual increases in retail grocery prices. “In the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures on average. That figure has decreased steadily over time and is now just 22 percent, according to Agriculture Department statistics,” Francl said.

Using that percentage across-the-board, the farmer’s share of this quarter’s $41.34 marketbasket total would be $9.09.

AFBF, the nation’s largest general farm organization, conducts its informal quarterly marketbasket survey as a tool to reflect retail food price trends. According to Agriculture Department statistics, Americans spend just under 10 percent of their disposable income on food annually, the lowest average of any country in the world. A total of 62 volunteer shoppers in 28 states participated in this latest survey, conducted during February.

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Contacts: Tracy Taylor Grondine
(202) 406-3642
tracyg@fb.org
Cyndie Sirekis
(202) 406-3649
cyndies@fb.org