Consumers paying less this spring for a dozen foods

moneyAmericans will be able to eat several meals less expensively this spring than in previous years.

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual Spring Picnic Marketbasket Survey, the average cost of 16 foods used to prepare several meals was $50.03, down $3.25 or about 6 percent from 2016. Those meals might include a picnic with fried chicken, potato salad and apple pie, or a weekday dinner with sirloin tips, salad and bread.

Of the 16 foods surveyed, the prices of 12 decreased, three increased and one remained the same.

“I can’t stress enough that the decline in prices is because net farm income has declined by 50 percent since 2013,” noted Dr. John Newton, AFBF director of market intelligence. “Farmers are getting lower prices, and that is being passed along to consumers at the retail level.”

Price decreases from a year ago were:

  • eggs, down 41 percent to $1.32 per dozen;
  • toasted oat cereal, down 15 percent to $2.38 for a 9-ounce box;
  • sirloin tip roast, down 13 percent to $4.95 per pound;
  • ground chuck, down 10 percent to $3.92 per pound;
  • chicken breast, down 6 percent to $3.17 per pound;
  • apples, down 6 percent to $1.55 per pound;
  • flour, down 5 percent to $2.36 for a 5-pound bag;
  • shredded Cheddar cheese, down 4 percent to $4.10 per pound;
  • deli ham, down 3 percent to $5.42 per pound;
  • bacon, down 3 percent to $4.65 per pound; and
  • potatoes, down 1 percent to $2.68 for a 5-pound bag.

Vegetable oil prices remained the same at $2.55 for a 32-ounce bottle. Average prices increased for bagged salad, up 6 percent to $2.34 per pound; white bread, up 2 percent to $1.72 per 20-ounce loaf; orange juice, up 1 percent to $3.22 per half-gallon; and whole milk, up 1 percent to $3.27 per gallon.

“So this time of year when people—myself included—are buying eggs to dye for Easter or maybe hiding Easter eggs, they are going to be a lot less expensive than in the past,” Newton explained. Higher egg prices in recent years were the result of avian influenza that wiped out millions of birds and drastically reduced the egg supply.

A total of 117 volunteer shoppers in 31 states completed the survey, one of three AFBF conducts annually. Shoppers will be surveyed in late June about Fourth of July picnic foods, and a Thanksgiving survey will be conducted in November.

A Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Thanksgiving survey also will be conducted in November.