Americans 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% 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% to $1.32 per dozen;
- Toasted oat cereal, down 15% to $2.38 for a 9-ounce box;
- Sirloin tip roast, down 13% to $4.95 per pound;
- Ground chuck, down 10% to $3.92 per pound;
- Chicken breast, down 6% to $3.17 per pound;
- Apples, down 6% to $1.55 per pound;
- Flour, down 5% to $2.36 for a 5-pound bag;
- Shredded Cheddar cheese, down 4% to $4.10 per pound;
- Deli ham, down 3% to $5.42 per pound;
- Bacon, down 3% to $4.65 per pound; and
- Potatoes, down 1%t 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% to $2.34 per pound; white bread, up 2 % to $1.72 per 20-ounce loaf; orange juice, up 1% to $3.22 per half-gallon; and whole milk, up 1% to $3.27 per gallon.
Higher egg prices in recent years were the result of avian influenza that wiped out millions of birds and drastically reduced the egg supply, said Newton.
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 survey also will be conducted in November.