An informal national survey of grocery store prices found a slight increase in the cost of several staple food items common to America's kitchen cupboards. An overall increase in meat and dairy products lead the way for an approximately 3% increase in the cost of 16 staple food items—up $1.66 since the first half of 2013 for a total grocery bill of $53.20.
American Farm Bureau Federation's (AFBF) semi-annual Marketbasket Survey is an unscientific study enlisting volunteer shoppers across the country to estimate food cost trends. A total of 79 shoppers in 25 states—including Michigan—participated in the latest survey, conducted in September.
Eleven of the 16 items surveyed were more expensive than six months ago; the remaining five decreased in average price.
"Several poultry and dairy product items increased in price during the second half of the year, accounting for much of the increase in the Marketbasket," says John Anderson, AFBF's deputy chief economist. "As anticipated, food prices have increased by about three% so far during the year, which is slightly higher than the average rate of inflation over the past 10 years."
Items showing increases included chicken breasts, up 61 cents to $3.93 per pound; Russet potatoes, up 49 cents to $3.18 for a 5-pound bag; bacon, up 43 cents to $4.71 per pound; whole milk, up 25 cents to $3.71 per gallon; vegetable oil, up 20 cents to $3.12 for a 32-ounce bottle; orange juice, up 19 cents to $3.47 per half-gallon; white bread, up 18 cents to $1.83 for a 20-ounce loaf; toasted oat cereal, up 18 cents to $3.09 for a nine-ounce box; bagged salad, up 12 cents to $2.83 per pound; shredded cheddar cheese, up four cents to $4.51 per pound; and flour, up four cents to $2.66 for a five-pound bag.
Conversely, deli ham got more affordable—down 68 cents to $4.71 per pound—as did sirloin tip roast, down 28 cents to $4.35 per pound; ground chuck, down five cents to $3.69 per pound; apples, down four cents to $1.59 per pound; and eggs, down two cents to $1.82 per dozen.