Retail food prices at the supermarket increased modestly during the second quarter of 2012 according to the latest Wisconsin Farm Bureau Marketbasket Survey.
"Any impact on food prices from the drought currently gripping the Midwest will not likely be seen in the grocery aisles until next year," said Casey Langan, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation spokesman.
"Energy prices have moderated in 2012," Langan explained. "Consumers may be surprised that stable energy prices have a bigger impact on their grocery bill than drought. The price for crops like corn and soybeans represent just a portion of the overall retail food prices, most of which are the energy-intensive efforts of processing, manufacturing and transporting food. The bottom line is that the drought does not impact these costs."
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently acknowledged the financial strain from lower-than-expected crop yields that drought causes farmers. He said higher commodity prices should not impact consumers with higher food prices until 2013. Vilsack also noted that energy prices drive up food prices more significantly.
Farm Bureau's informal survey shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $50.32, up 77 cents or about 1.6 percent compared to the first quarter of 2012. Of the 16 items surveyed, 10 increased in price and six items decreased in price compared to the prior quarter. The cost for the survey items increased over 1.7% compared to one year ago.