The year-to-year direction of the Marketbasket Survey tracks with the federal government’s Consumer Price Index (http://www.bls.gov/cpi/) report for food at home. As retail grocery prices have increased gradually over time, the share of the average food dollar that America’s farm and ranch families receive has dropped.
“Through the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures for food eaten at home and away from home, on average. Since then, that figure has decreased steadily and is now about 16 percent, according to the Agriculture Department’s revised Food Dollar Series,” Anderson said. Details about USDA’s new Food Dollar Series may be found online at http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/err-economic-research-report/err114.aspx.
Using the “food at home and away from home” percentage across-the-board, the farmer’s share of this quarter’s $51.90 marketbasket would be $8.30.
AFBF, the nation’s largest general farm organization, has been conducting the informal quarterly Marketbasket Survey of retail food price trends since 1989. The mix of foods in the marketbasket was updated in 2008.
According to USDA, Americans spend just under 10 percent of their disposable annual income on food, the lowest average of any country in the world. A total of 79 shoppers in 26 states participated in the latest survey, conducted in August.
Tracking Milk and Egg Trends
For the third quarter of 2012, shoppers reported the average price for a half-gallon of regular whole milk was $2.31, up 10 cents from the prior quarter. The average price for one gallon of regular whole milk was $3.54, up 18 cents. Comparing per-quart prices, the retail price for whole milk sold in gallon containers was about 25 percent lower compared to half-gallon containers, a typical volume discount long employed by retailers.
The average price for a half-gallon of rBST-free milk was $3.35, down 22 cents from the last quarter, about 40 percent higher than the reported retail price for a half-gallon of regular milk ($2.31).
The average price for a half-gallon of organic milk was $3.81, down 9 cents compared to the prior quarter, about 70 percent higher than the reported retail price for a half-gallon of regular milk ($2.31).
Compared to a year ago (third quarter of 2011), the retail price for regular milk in gallon containers declined about 3 percent, while regular milk in half-gallon containers declined 5 percent. The average retail price for rBST-free milk decreased 1 percent compared to the prior year, while organic milk declined 3 percent.
For the third quarter of 2012, the average price for one dozen regular eggs was $1.94, up 33 cents compared to the prior quarter. The average price for a dozen “cage-free” eggs was $3.22, down 7 cents compared to the prior quarter but nearly double (90 percent higher) the price of regular eggs. Compared to a year ago (third quarter of 2011), regular eggs increased 9 percent while “cage-free” eggs increased 4 percent.