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Kentucky retail food prices get a slight bump in the first quarter of 2014

 

Kentucky Farm Bureau

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The latest Marketbasket Survey, conducted by the Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) Federation in March 2014, indicates that average retail food prices in supermarkets across the state are holding fairly steady with just slight increases reported in the first quarter of the year. According to the survey findings, the total cost of 40 basic grocery items was $120.69. These results were $0.61, or 0.5 percent, higher than the same list of items reported in the fourth quarter of 2013, the previous record high.

The April 15 Marketbasket Survey total does reflect a 3.8 percent increase over the average price reported in the first quarter of 2013. The United States Department of Agriculture is additionally forecasting an overall 2.5 to 3.5 percent increase in food prices during 2014.

Five years ago the average cost of the same 40 surveyed grocery items was $110.22, or 9.5% less than what these items cost on average today.

In comparison to national food price trends, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent Consumer Price Index (CPI) data revealed that food-at-home prices also increased by just 0.5 percent in the last reported month (March 2014). Overall, the CPI data shows that national prices for food-at-home increased by an overall total of 1.4 percent over the past 12 months.

Marketbasket Survey specifics:

Of the six food groups recorded in the most recent survey – beef, pork, poultry, dairy, grains, and fruits and vegetables – the dairy category showed the largest total increase with an average price jump of 4.9 percent (+$1.14). When compared to the previous quarter, the beef category made the greatest decrease in average price at -4.0 percent (-$1.37). Cut chicken fryers had the greatest single-item increase with an average price jump of $0.49 per pound, while rib-eye steak reported with the greatest decrease in price, dropping an average of $1.54 per pound. Overall, 22 of the 40 items recorded in this survey experienced increases in average price during the first quarter.

The Marketbasket Survey’s top three average price increases reported for items in the first quarter of 2014 were:

Item Dec. 2013 March 2014 Price increase
Cut Fryers $1.67/pound $2.16/pound +$0.49/pound (+29.3%)
Dill Pickle Slices $1.88/16 ounces $2.31/16 ounces +$0.43/16 ounces(+22.9%)
Butter $2.79/pound $3.21/pound +$0.42/pound (+15.1%)

 

Agricultural Economics in Food Prices:

Whether or not grocery prices fluctuate from quarter to quarter, it remains a fact that Americans continue to enjoy some of the lowest food prices in the world. Shoppers in the U.S. spend only about 10 percent of their disposable income on food each year. Those costs remain far lower than any other country in the world thanks to many of the agricultural efficiencies utilized in America. Today the average U.S. farmer produces enough food and fiber to provide for about 154 people – a significant jump from an average of 19 people per farmer back in 1940.

Yet while more food is now being produced on less land, the farmer’s share of the retail food dollar in America is down. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Dollar Series, a farmer earns less than 16 cents per dollar spent on food, down significantly from the 31 cents earned in 1980.

Survey Origins:

Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation has conducted its regional Marketbasket Survey over the past four decades as a tool to reflect local retail food pricing trends and their relationship to what farmers receive for their raw commodities. Cities reporting on the Kentucky Farm Bureau Marketbasket Survey for the first quarter of 2014 include: Alexandria, Augusta, Bardstown, Brandenburg, Brownsville, Eddyville, Elizabethtown, Elkton, Flatwoods, Flemingsburg, Fulton, Glasgow, Grayson, Harrodsburg, Hartford, Hopkinsville, Irvine, Lawrenceburg, Louisville, Madisonville, Maysville, Munfordville, Owensboro, Owingsville, Paris, Powderly, Richmond, Russellville, Salyersville, Scottsville, Smithland, Stanford, Tollesboro, and Walton.