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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - The
latest Marketbasket Survey, conducted
by the Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) Federation in December 2013, indicates
that average retail food prices in supermarkets across the state
increased just slightly in the fourth quarter of 2013, but as a result,
concluded the year with the highest prices in
the survey’s history.
According to the survey's findings, the total cost
of 40 basic grocery items was $120.08. These results were $0.93, or 0.8% higher than the same list of items reported in the third
quarter of 2013, the previous record high.
Marketbasket Survey total also reflects a 3.9% increase over the
average price reported in the fourth quarter
of 2012. This increase fits precisely within the anticipated 3-4% percent food price growth that American Farm Bureau Federation
economists forecast at the beginning of 2013, and is just slightly
higher than the average rate of inflation over the past
Five years ago the average cost of the same 40 surveyed grocery items was $111.63, or 7.6% less than what these items cost
on average today.
In further 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 remained steady in the last reported
month (December 2013). Overall, the CPI data shows that national prices
for food-at-home increased by an overall total of 0.4% over the
past 12 months.
coupled with the KFB Marketbasket Survey’s recent results, the year-end
CPI data appears to support the notion that Kentucky
trended ahead of national food-at-home pricing, but it more accurately
displays a timeframe where regional prices caught up to national levels.
At the end of 2012, the KFB Marketbasket Survey results indicated that
prices fell by an average of 1.1% on
the year while CPI data revealed national price averages climbed by 1.3% during the same timeframe. The 3.9% overall increase in
food prices seen in the Marketbasket Survey results during 2013 has the
Commonwealth’s prices now more closely aligned
with national trends.
Marketbasket Survey specifics: Of the six food groups
recorded in the most recent survey – beef, pork, poultry, dairy, grains,
and fruits and vegetables – the beef category showed the largest total
increase with an average price jump of 9.7%
(+$3.04). The grains category made the greatest decrease in average
price at -8.4% (-$1.25), and dairy registered no change in
overall average price from the previous quarter. Rib-eye steak had the
greatest single-item increase with an average price
jump of $1.86 per pound, while Idaho potatoes was the item reported with
the greatest decrease in price, dropping an average of $0.88 per
ten-pound bag. Overall, 19 of the 40 items in this survey experienced
increases in average price, 20 decreased, and one
went unchanged (a gallon of 2% milk).
The Marketbasket Survey’s top three average price increases
reported for items in the fourth quarter of 2013 were:
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% 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
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.