Some relief for Arizona grocery shoppers, but not for long - East Valley Tribune: Arizona

Some relief for Arizona grocery shoppers, but not for long

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Posted: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 12:18 pm | Updated: 11:28 am, Wed Sep 21, 2011.

Food prices in Arizona dropped a bit in the last quarter.

But shoppers should not count on sustained lower grocery bills.

New figures Tuesday from the Arizona Farm Bureau Federation show the price tag for its typical market basket of 16 items slipped by 60 cents from the second quarter of the year, to $50.71. The price drops for the eight items that declined offset the gains by the other eight.

The organization’s Julie Murphree admitted that the price drop, however small, came as a bit of a surprise. She noted that the cost of the same items nationally actually increased.

What may be helping keep the lid on, she said, are the choices for Arizona shoppers.

“We have a very competitive grocery market,” she said, with several major food chains as well as the presence of grocery sections in places like Walmart and Target. Murphree also said Arizonans benefit from some lower prices on things like lettuce because of the year-round growing season.

Murphree pointed out, though, that prices are more than 9 percent higher than the same time a year earlier. She said that’s when prices “really began to shoot up.”

Nor does she see any relief, at least in the near future.

“For the remainder of 2011, we’ll probably still be in this inflationary trend,” Murphree said. In fact, she said, the high prices may continue into 2012.

Part of the reason prices are remaining high, Murphree said, is an increase in global demand for food. On top of that, she said, energy costs, including the diesel fuel used for everything from farm equipment to the big trucks that deliver products to the markets, have remained higher than gasoline.

The survey is not a scientific comparison but is based on the prices that Farm Bureau workers can find for the selected items at stores around Arizona. The survey is based on the lowest in-store prices but does not include promotional coupons or special deals.

Item 3rd qtr 2011 2nd qtr 2011
Red delicious apples (pound) $1.51 $1.33
Russet potatoes (5 pounds) $2.96 $2.99
Ground chuck (pound) $3.49 $3.48
Sirloin tip roast (pound) $5.34 $5.57
Sliced deli ham (pound) $4.75 $4.71
Bacon (pound) $4.42 $4.79
Boneless chicken breasts (pound) $3.47 $3.70
Whole milk (gallon) $2.79 $2.49
Shredded mild cheddar cheese (pound) $5.02 $4.99
Grade A eggs (dozen) $1.64 $1.88
All-purpose flour (5 pounds) $2.23 $2.07
Orange juice (1/2 gallon) $2.98 $3.04
Vegetable oil (quart) $2.61 $2.69
American salad mix (pound) $2.61 $2.79
Toasted oat cereal (8.9 ounce box) $3.29 $3.25
White bread (20 ounce) $1.60 $1.54

Source: Arizona Farm Bureau Federation

Market basket of 16 selected basic items:

2011 3rd qtr $50.71
2011 2nd qtr $51.31
2011 1st qtr $47.85
2010 4th qtr $45.44
2010 3rd qtr $46.48
2010 2nd qtr $48.84
2010 1st qtr $45.96
2009 4th qtr $45.89
2009 3rd qtr $46.02
2009 2nd qtr $50.89
2009 1st qtr $54.43

Source: Arizona Farm Bureau Federation

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