Clements: The annual informal survey finds that the prices of common food items for the Easter holiday are slightly higher than last year. American Farm Bureau Federation market intelligence director John Newton says the survey found food prices have increased just two percent from the same time in 2017.
Newton: Our 93 volunteer shoppers from across the country found that the average price of a Spring Marketbasket for 16 items came in at $51.05. That’s up two percent from what we saw year-over-year, or about $1.02 for that 16-item basket.
Clements: Newton says weather and foreign demand contributed to price increases in orange juice and eggs.
Newton: When we think about why we saw higher orange juice prices, that’s really going to be due to the devastating hurricane that we saw come up the western coast of Florida and its impact on the orange crops. And, then on the egg side, we saw egg exports in 2017 up on a volume basis about 50 percent, while production remained relatively flat. So, the obvious solution to that is egg prices in the basket increased about 37 percent, or nearly 50 cents per dozen.
Clements: Newton says the survey tracks closely with government data on the price of food items.
Newton: One of the things that we’ve seen over the last few years is that this data really tracks very closely with the CPI for food consumed at home. The CPI Index is up about two percent over a twelve-month period and that’s what we saw in this basket. I think this demonstrates that U.S. farmers and ranchers continue to produce a high-quality and affordable food supply in that you can fix this 16-item meal for slightly more than $50.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.