We are paying less at the grocery store

It costs even less at the grocery store these days. The American Farm Bureau reports retail food prices decreased for the fifth consecutive quarter and are significantly lower than a year ago. AFBF says the total cost of the 16 items in their Market Basket Survey which can be used to prepare a meal was $42.90, down $3.13 from the third-quarter of 2009 and $7.31 below a year ago.

Compared to the third quarter, prices were lower deli ham, bacon, sirloin tip roast, boneless chicken breasts, shredded cheese, flour, potatoes, apples, orange juice, bagged salad and vegetable oil. Quarterly prices were a little higher for milk, eggs, white bread and ground chuck. Toasted oat cereal was unchanged.

All items were cheaper than a year ago with 20-percent-or-larger declines in milk, vegetable oil, chicken breasts, cheddar cheese and potatoes.

AFBF says Americans today spend just under 10 percent of their disposable annual income for food, the lowest average of any country in the world. Meanwhile, the farmer’s share of that food dollar continues to decline from roughly 33 percent in the mid-1970’s to 19 percent today. In other words, of the $42.90 spent on the Market Basket items, the farmer gets $8.15.

Some interesting notes on retail milk sales. The AFBF found the average price for a gallon of whole milk was about 25 percent cheaper in gallon containers compared to half-gallon containers. The average price for a half-gallon of rBST-free milk was about 55 percent higher than a half-gallon of regular milk. The average price for a half-gallon of organic milk was about 80 percent higher than the price for a half-gallon of regular milk.

Consumers also paid about 80 percent more for “cage-free” eggs compared to regular eggs.

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