Nationwide, Food Prices Trending Down

Retail food prices at the supermarket decreased slightly for the third consecutive quarter, according to the latest American Farm Bureau Federation Marketbasket Survey. The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare a meal was $46.29, down about 2 percent or $1.12 from the first quarter of 2009. Of the 16 items surveyed, 10 decreased, five increased and one remained the same in average price compared to the prior quarter.  Russet potatoes, boneless chicken breasts, eggs, sliced deli ham and whole milk declined the most in price and together account for most of the decrease in the average price of the overall marketbasket. Russet potatoes dropped 29 cents to $2.76 for a 5-pound bag; chicken breasts dropped 28 cents to $3.10 per pound; eggs decreased 16 cents to $1.34 per dozen; deli ham and whole milk dropped 14 cents to $4.80 per pound and $3.01 per gallon. “The quarter-to-quarter price decline reported by our volunteer shoppers indicates that consumers are seeing some relief at the grocery store. Even more significant is that average retail prices for eggs, milk, chicken breasts and bacon for the second quarter of 2009 are significantly lower than one year ago,” said Jim Sartwelle, AFBF economist.  Overall, the average price for the marketbasket of foods declined $3.10 or about 6 percent over a year’s time. Retail egg prices dropped 26 percent, milk decreased 22 percent, chicken declined 19 percent and bacon was 11 percent lower compared to a year ago.