American Farm Bureau Federation’s Spring Picnic Marketbasket Survey shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $51.05, up $1.02 or 2% percent compared to a year ago.
“Most of the increase in the marketbasket was due to higher retail egg prices. Easter eggs are going to be a bit more expensive—37% higher than a year ago,” said John Newton, AFBF’s director of market intelligence. “U.S. egg exports were up nearly 50% in 2017 while egg production remained flat.”
A bird flu outbreak in South Korea contributed to the increase in U.S. export volumes.
“A surge in egg exports combined with relatively flat production led to the strong rise in retail egg prices,” Newton said.
“Orange juice was another significant driver for the increase in the basket, up 24 cents or 7.5%. A devastating hurricane late last year that came through parts of Florida, where most orange juice comes from, led to growers harvesting the smallest crop in 70 years,” he added.
Of the 16 items surveyed, nine increased and seven decreased in average price.
Retail price changes from a year ago:
- Eggs, up 37% to $1.80 per dozen
- Orange juice, up 8% to $3.46 per half-gallon
- Bagged salad, up 4%to $2.42 per pound
- Deli ham, up 3% to $5.59 per pound
- Vegetable oil, up 2% to $2.61 for a 32-ounce bottle
- Shredded cheddar cheese, up 2% to $4.20 per pound
- Ground chuck, up 2% to $4.01 per pound
- Bacon, up 2% to $4.75 per pound
- Sirloin tip roast, up 2% to $5.12 per pound
- White bread, down 7% to $1.60 per 20-ounce loaf
- Whole milk, down 6% to $3.07 per gallon
- Chicken breast, down 2% to $3.10 per pound
- Toasted oat cereal, down 2% to $2.78 for a 9-ounce box
- Apples, down 1% to $1.53 per pound
- Flour, down less than 1% to $2.34 for a 5-pound bag
- Potatoes, down less than 1% to $2.67 for a 5-pound bag
Price checks of alternative milk and egg choices not included in the overall marketbasket survey average revealed the following: half-gallon whole regular milk, $2.04; half-gallon organic milk, $4.24; and one dozen “cage-free” eggs, $3.53.
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.
“Through the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures for food eaten at home and away from home, on average. Since then, that figure has decreased steadily and is now about 14.8%, according to the Agriculture Department’s revised Food Dollar Series,” Newton said.
AFBF began conducting informal marketbasket surveys of retail food price trends in 1989. The current series includes a spring picnic survey, summer cookout survey, fall harvest survey and Thanksgiving dinner cost survey. A total of 93 shoppers in 23 states participated in the latest AFBF survey, conducted in March 2018.