Wisconsin food basket prices remain stableDespite recent energy price spikes and last summer’s drought, Wisconsin food prices have remained stable in early 2013.
Despite recent energy price spikes and last summer’s drought, Wisconsin food prices have remained stable in early 2013.
That’s the finding of the latest Wisconsin Farm Bureau Marketbasket Survey. The informal survey shows the average cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $49.91. The cost for the survey items rose just 1.2 percent since late 2012 and less than 1 percent compared to one year ago. The survey’s price increased 57 cents since December.
“Food prices have remained in the stable pattern since the beginning of 2012,” said Casey Langan, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation spokesman.
Wisconsin’s Marketbasket price is 3.2 percent less than the national average of the same 16 food items, which was $51.54.
“The modest gain in food prices came as a surprise, given the spike in energy prices that occurred in January and February,” Langan said. “The food price survey conducted in March was either too early to reflect the impact of energy prices, or food retailers might have seen the higher prices as a blip on the radar and decided to hold back on increasing their prices to cost-conscious consumers.”
As for where energy prices are headed this year, Langan said there are several factors at play. A sustained run-up in global energy prices, for example, would impact food prices here at home. Strong global demand coupled with a reduction in the size of our nation’s cattle and hog herds has also resulted in tighter supplies of meat.
“As we enter the spring growing season, a late freeze like Wisconsin experienced in 2012 would cause food production disruptions with fruits and vegetables,” Langan said. “Meat and dairy items are expected to be what drives an expected 3 to 4 percent increase in food prices over the course of 2013. That figure is slightly higher than the average rate of inflation over the last decade.”
Half of the 16 items surveyed increased in price compared to December, while seven items decreased and one item (a loaf of white bread) saw no change.
Of the items with price increases, one pound of bagged salad saw the largest percentage increase (12 percent) with its 29 cent increase from $2.42 to 2.71. Two meat items also saw increases of more than five percent: one pound of bacon increased by 9.2 percent (a 38 cent increase from $4.13 to $4.51) and one pound of ground chuck increased 6.7 percent (a 24 cent increase from $3.56 to $3.80).
Modest increases of less than five percent were posted for: Russet potatoes, orange juice, boneless chicken breast, flour and vegetable oil.
Two items saw their average price decrease by more than five percent since December. One pound of Red Delicious apples decreased in price by 7.1 percent (an 11 cent drop from $1.56 to $1.45). A box of Cheerios decreased in price by 6.1 percent (an 18 cent decline from $2.97 to $2.79).
Modest decreases of less than five percent were posted for: whole milk, shredded mild cheddar cheese, eggs, sirloin tip roast and sliced deli ham.
Over the last year, 11 items increased in price, while five decreased.
Two surveyed items saw big price swings over the last year. The price for one dozen large Grade A eggs increased 24 percent over that time period (a 30 cent increase from $1.24 in early 2012 to $1.54 in early 2013).
The price for a five-pound bag of Russet potatoes fell by 23 percent (a 54 cent decrease from $2.31 to $1.77).
“Last year’s large supply of potatoes following a good production year has driven prices downward for consumers.
Four survey items were considerably cheaper in Wisconsin than the national average price. Sliced deli ham, Red Delicious apples and eggs were all between 10 and 17 percent lower in Wisconsin. The best bargain of all was a five-pound bag of Russet potatoes. Wisconsin’s average price was 92 cents (34.2 percent) less than the national average.