AFBF Market Survey Finds Lower Retail Food Prices

Total cost of 16 basic grocery items was $39.91, down 60 cents from one year ago. Compiled by staff

Published on: Jul 7, 2006

Retail prices for food at the supermarket dropped slightly in the second quarter of 2006, according to the latest American Farm Bureau Federation Marketbasket Survey. The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 basic grocery items in the 2006 second quarter was $39.91, down 1.5% or 60 cents from one year ago.

The surveyed items decreased 82 cents in the second quarter of 2006, following an increase of $1.90 in the first quarter of 2006.

Of the 16 items surveyed, 11 decreased, four increased and one remained the same in average price compared to the 2006 first-quarter survey.

Cheddar cheese showed the largest decrease, down 38 cents to $3.51 per pound. Other items that decreased in price:

  • Ground chuck, down 18 cents to $2.66 per pound;
  • Mayonnaise, down 15 cents to $3.13 per 32-ounce jar;
  • Whole milk and corn oil, down 12 cents to $3.04 per gallon and $2.80 per 32-ounce bottle, respectively;
  • Sirloin tip roast, down 11 cents to $3.74 per pound;
  • Flour, down 10 cents to $1.63 per 5-pound bag;
  • Vegetable oil, down 8 cents to $2.53 per 32-ounce bottle;
  • Large eggs, down 3 cents to $1.05 per dozen; and
  • Pork chops and bacon, each down 2 cents per pound to $3.37 and $3.07, respectively. 

Items that increased in price from the first quarter of 2006 were: Russet potatoes, up 27 cents to $2.51 per 5-pound bag; white bread, up 9 cents to $1.52 per 20-ounce loaf; apples, up 8 cents to $1.18 per pound; and whole fryers, up 5 cents to $1.28 per pound. Toasted oat cereal remained the same in average price, at $2.89 per 10-ounce box.

"Decreased retail prices for cheddar cheese and milk during this quarter reflect underlying lower prices paid to producers at the farm gate," says AFBF Senior Economist Terry Francl. "Higher energy prices passed along by food processors to consumers likely contributed to increased retail costs for several items," he says.

The share of the average food dollar that America's farm and ranch families receive has dropped over time, despite gradual increases in retail grocery prices. "Going back to the mid-1970s, farmers received an average of one-third of consumer retail food expenditures. That figure has dropped steadily over time and is now just 22%, according to USDA statistics," Francl says.

Using that percentage across-the-board, the farmer's share of this quarter's $39.91 marketbasket total would be $8.78.

AFBF conducts its informal quarterly marketbasket survey as a tool to reflect retail food price trends. According to Agriculture Department statistics, Americans spend just 9.5% of their disposable income on food annually, the lowest average of any country in the world. A total of 68 volunteer shoppers in 32 states participated in this latest survey, conducted during May.