You’ll pay more for Easter eggs and bacon

WASHINGTON — Higher retail prices for several food items used to prepare breakfast, including bacon, eggs and bread, among other foods, resulted in a slight increase in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s latest Semi-Annual Marketbasket Survey.

The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $53.27, up $1.73 or about 3.5 percent compared to a survey conducted a year ago.

Of the 16 items surveyed, 10 increased, five decreased and one remained the same in average price.

But there’s still plenty of eggs around.

“Several typical breakfast items increased in price, accounting for much of the modest increase in the marketbasket,” said John Anderson, American Farm Bureau Federation deputy chief economist.

“The 3.5 percent increase shown by our survey tracks closely with Agriculture Department’s forecast of 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent food inflation for 2014,” he said.

Increasing costs

Items showing retail price increases from a year ago included bacon, up 12 percent to $4.80 per pound; ground chuck, up 10 percent to $4.10 per pound; white bread, up 10 percent to $1.81 for a 20-ounce loaf;

Sirloin tip roast, up 9 percent to $5.03 per pound; eggs, up 8 percent to $1.98 per dozen; whole milk, up 6 percent to $3.68 per gallon; chicken breasts, up 6 percent to $3.51 per pound; flour, up 5 percent to $2.76 for a 5-pound bag; toasted oat cereal, up less than 1 percent to $2.93 for a 9-ounce box; and Russet potatoes, up less than one-half of 1 percent to $2.70 for a 5-pound bag.

These items showed modest retail price decreases: bagged salad, down 4 percent to $2.61 per pound; deli ham, down 3 percent to $5.21 per pound; apples, down 3 percent to $1.59 per pound; vegetable oil, down 2 percent to $2.85 for a 32-ounce bottle; and orange juice, down 1 percent to $3.24 per half-gallon.

Shredded cheddar cheese remained the same in price compared to a year ago, at $4.47 per pound.

Price checks of alternative milk and egg choices not included in the overall marketbasket survey average revealed the following: 1/2 gallon regular milk, $2.46; 1/2 gallon rBST-free milk, $3.87; 1/2 gallon organic milk, $3.97; and 1 dozen “cage-free” eggs, $3.33.

Consumer Price Index

The year-to-year direction of the marketbasket survey tracks closely with the federal government’s Consumer Price Index report for food at home.

As retail grocery prices have increased gradually over time, the share of the average food dollar that America’s farm and ranch families receive has dropped. It’s now about 16 percent, according to the Agriculture Department’s revised Food Dollar Series.

Using the food at home and away from home percentage across-the-board, the farmer’s share of this $53.27 marketbasket would be $8.52.

American Farm Bureau Federation, the nation’s largest general farm organization, conducted an informal quarterly marketbasket survey of retail food price trends from 1989 to 2012. In 2013, the marketbasket series was updated to include two semi-annual surveys of everyday food items, a summer cookout survey and the annual Thanksgiving survey.

Disposable income

According to USDA, Americans spend just under 10 percent of their disposable annual income on food, the lowest average of any country in the world. A total of 89 shoppers in 27 states participated in the latest survey, conducted in March.

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