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Second-quarter Marketbasket Survey shows slight drop in Kentucky retail food prices

 

Kentucky Farm Bureau

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - For the second quarter in a row, the average price of retail food items across the Commonwealth has decreased – even if just by a few pennies. According to the Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) Federation’s latest Marketbasket Survey, taken in June of this year, the average total cost of 40 basic grocery items was $126.17, or five cents (0.1 percent) lower than what was reported in the previous quarter.

 

This slight price decrease now places KFB’s Marketbasket Survey total $3.03 lower than where it ended in 2014, but it is still $3.88, or 3.2 percent, higher than the total reported in the second quarter of last year.

 

Food price averages at the national level, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent Consumer Price Index (CPI) data, reflected an overall increase of 0.4 percent in June. This was the largest single-month increase in the CPI report since September 2014, partly due to a sharp increase in the eggs index. Overall, the CPI data shows that national prices for food-at-home have increased by an overall total of 1.0 percent during the past 12 months.

So far, the USDA Economic Research Service’s prediction (based on the assumption of normal weather conditions) that food prices would level out during 2015 has proven on target in Kentucky. Overall, annual food-at-home cost increases were forecast to keep pace with, or end up slightly below, average food price inflation, increasing by a total of 2.0 to 3.0 percent by year’s end.

Marketbasket Survey specifics:

In KFB’s second quarter Marketbasket Survey, the overall trend of decreasing prices was led evenly by dairy products, grains, and fruits and vegetables. Any opportunity for price growth in the Marketbasket Survey this quarter was offset by the near-evenly split fluctuations in the survey’s six food groups – beef, pork, poultry, dairy, grains, and fruits and vegetables.

 

Review of categorical pricing revealed that dairy experienced the greatest total price drop at -$0.73, but grains were lower by overall percentage, falling an average of 4.4%. Beef, on the other hand, reached a new all-time high in the survey’s history ($38.02 for five beef items) after setting a new high last quarter. Overall, 23 of the 40 items recorded in this survey experienced decreases in average price during the second quarter.

The Marketbasket Survey’s top three average price decreases reported for items in the second quarter of 2015 were:

Item March 2015 June 2015 Price decrease
Ground beef $4.30/pound $3.92/pound -$0.38/pound (-8.8%)
Cottage cheese $2.44/16 oz. $2.12/16 oz. -$0.32/16 oz. (-13.1%)
Sliced bacon $4.12/pound $3.83/pound -0.29 (-7%)

 

Agricultural Economics in Food Prices:

Whether or not U.S. grocery prices fluctuate from one quarterly survey to the next, Kentuckians and all 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 USDA’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 second quarter of 2015 include: Alexandria, Augusta, Bardstown, Bowling Green, Cold Springs, Danville, Eddyville, Elkton, Flatwoods, Glasgow, Grayson, Harrodsburg, Hartford, Hopkinsville, Lexington, Louisa, Madisonville, Maysville, Munfordville, Owensboro, Owenton, Owingsville, Powderly, Richmond, Salyersville, Scottsville, Shelbyville, Taylorsville, and Walton.