A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Farm Bureau’s final Marketbasket Survey of 2017 show food prices continued decline in fourth quarter

Kentucky Farm Bureau’s (KFB) latest Marketbasket Survey indicates food prices dropped once again during the fourth quarter of last year. This continues a trend seen throughout the last two years of the survey.

Each quarter, 40 basic food items are price-checked throughout the state in an effort to gauge current food-price trends. Since the end of 2016, surveyed food items have dropped by a total of $3.79 or just over three percent.

During the fourth quarter of last year, overall surveyed items dropped by $1.52 over the previous quarter. The 40 items cost a total of $114.11 as compared to $115.63 in the third quarter and $117.90 during the time frame of 2016.

Quarterly declines by category came from fruits and vegetables, grains dairy and pork while slight increase came in the beef and poultry categories.

The declines seen statewide for these specific food costs are in contrast to the Consumer Price Index from last year. The CPI food index rose 1.6 percent in 2017. That index was mixed according to last December figures with slight increases for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs and small declines in dairy and related products along with fruits and vegetables.

Marketbasket Survey specifics:

The price for rib-eye steaks increased by $0.78 per pound while sirloin steaks dropped in price by $0.65 per pound. Overall beef category items saw a modest increase of $0.34. Both large and extra-large eggs increased in price by $0.10 and $0.18 cents per dozen respectively while cut- fryer prices decreased by $0.21 per pound. Apples dropped $0.56 per pound while a 10 pound bag of potatoes declined by $0.42.

Agricultural Economics in Food Prices:

Whether or not U.S. grocery prices fluctuate from one quarterly survey to the next, Kentuckians and all Americans continue to enjoy some of the lowest food prices in the world. Shoppers in the U.S. spend only about seven percent of their disposable income on food each year. Those costs remain far lower than any other country in the world thanks to many of the agricultural efficiencies utilized in America. Today the average U.S. farmer produces enough food and fiber to provide for about 154 people – a significant jump from an average of 19 people per farmer back in 1940.

Yet while more food is now being produced on less land, the farmer’s share of the retail food dollar in America is down. According to the USDA’s Food Dollar Series, a farmer earns less than 17 cents per dollar spent on food, down significantly from the 31 cents earned in 1980.

From Kentucky Farm Bureau

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