Wisconsin food prices inch upward in 2013Food prices at Wisconsin supermarkets have increased modestly since March according to the latest Wisconsin Farm Bureau Marketbasket Survey.
MADISON – As expected in 2013, retail food prices at Wisconsin supermarkets have increased modestly since March according to the latest Wisconsin Farm Bureau Marketbasket Survey.
“Food prices have been stable in 2013, which was expected barring any energy price spikes or major disruptions to the food production cycle,” said Amy Manske, Communications Coordinator for Wisconsin Farm Bureau.
Farm Bureau’s informal survey shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $50.18. While it marked an increase of 58 cents (or about 1.2 percent) from the third quarter of 2012, it is only 27 cents higher than the first quarter of 2013 ($49.91).
Of the 16 items surveyed, nine increased in price while seven decreased in price compared to the March survey.
Items with the greatest percentage decrease in price were bagged salad (a one-pound bag decreased 16.2 percent from $2.71 to $2.27), vegetable oil (a 32-ounce bottle fell 8.3 percent from $3.03 to $2.78) and shredded mild cheddar cheese (a one-pound bag decreased 7.1 percent from $4.63 to $4.30).
The biggest price swing in the survey was for five pounds of russet potatoes. They increased more than 42 percent since March. Their average price in March was $1.77 per bag. In September they averaged $2.52.
“Potatoes are still a bargain at the grocery store given their nutritional value, and their change in price comes down to simple supply and demand,” Manske explained.
“Last year’s large potato crop lowered prices that continued through last spring. However, this year’s potato crop was smaller which temporarily increased prices over the summer. When supplies are tight, prices go up. The September survey captured a price spike that has already moderated,” Manske said.
WISCONSIN SURVEY PRICE IS LESS THAN NATIONAL AVERAGE
Wisconsin’s $50.18 Marketbasket is less than the American Farm Bureau Federation’s national survey of the same 16 food items. AFBF’s survey rang in at $53.20. Despite the lower overall price, four of the 16 items recently surveyed in Wisconsin were higher than the national average: bagged salad, deli ham, sirloin tip roast and apples.
“While food manufacturer’s increase their prices to local grocers, consumers continue to benefit from sales and specials while grocers work to hold the line on prices”, said Wisconsin Grocers Association President Brandon Scholz. “Considering all the factors like increased operating costs, health care and labor, grocery stores work every day to provide quality products at competitive prices.”
FARMER’S SHARE IS JUST $8.02
Over the last three decades retail grocery prices have gradually increased while the share of the average dollar spent on food that farm families receive has dropped. In the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures in grocery stores and restaurants. Since then that figure has decreased steadily and is now about 16 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Using that percentage across the board, the farmer’s share of this quarter’s $50.18 grocery bill would be $8.02.
Despite higher prices, the USDA says Americans will still spend approximately 10 percent of their disposable annual income on food, the lowest average in the world.
The Marketbasket survey is a quarterly look at the trends in food pricing in Wisconsin in relation to changing farm prices, weather and wholesale and retail food marketing. Members of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau collected price samples of 16 basic food items in 31 communities across Wisconsin in September.