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AGRIBUSINESS: Slight Food Price Increase

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According to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s first Semi-Annual Marketbasket Survey, shoppers paid about 2% more for food at the grocery store at the beginning of 2013 compared to the fourth quarter of 2012.

The informal survey of 86 shoppers in 24 states shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals. To start 2013, the total was $51.54, or $1 more than the prior quarter. Of the 16 items surveyed, 11 increased in average price while 5 decreased.

Overall, AFBF Deputy Chief Economist John Anderson says food prices have remained remarkably stable over the past 2 or 3 quarters - particularly given the run-up in energy prices over this most recent quarter.

Looking ahead, Anderson says food prices are expected to rise 3%-4% during 2013. He says that is slightly higher than the average rate of inflation over the past 10 years.

Anderson explains that meat prices rose in price a bit more than most other items in the first quarter. Deli ham prices were up $0.50 per pound, chicken breasts cost $0.22 more per pound and ground chuck prices were up $0.19 per pound. The prices for sirloin tip roast and bacon were up $0.11 per pound and $0.07 per pound, respectively.

Retail prices also increased for flour, shredded cheddar cheese, bagged salad, Russet potatoes, vegetable oil and apples. Only whole milk, white bread, orange juice, toasted oat cereal and eggs decreased in price.