The latest Marketbasket Survey, conducted by the American Farm Bureau Federation, indicates that retail food prices at U.S. supermarkets increased slightly during the fourth quarter of 2010. The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $46.97, up 80 cents or about 2% compared to the third quarter of 2010. The total average price for the 16 items was up $4.07, or about 10%, compared to one year ago.
AFBF Economist John Anderson says hearty breakfast lovers felt the pinch in the fourth quarter. Bacon increased 68 cents to $4.32 per pound; eggs and whole milk increased 19 cents to $1.60 per dozen and $3.35 per gallon, respectively; sliced deli ham increased 18 cents to $4.84 per pound; and bread increased 14 cents to $1.75 for a 20-ounce loaf.
Anderson says increased consumer demand for meats and dairy products that began in 2009 continued through the fourth quarter of 2010. Wholesale meat supplies remained tight, due to smaller livestock herds and poultry flocks, which also contributed to the retail price increases.
According to Anderson, using the "food at home and away from home" percentage across-the-board, the farmer's share of this quarter's $46.97 marketbasket would be $9.39. According to USDA, Americans spend just under 10% of their disposable annual income on food, the lowest average of any country in the world.