Food prices rise slightly

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Dairy rates jump, but beef declines

By The Staff

Groceries in Shelby County and across Kentucky are costing slightly more after the first quarter of 2013, although that increase is significantly less than the national trend.

A review of 40 basic grocery items by the Kentucky Farm Bureau’s Marketbasket Survey showed a total price of $116.27, which was 74 cents – or .6 of a percent – higher than in December.

Marketbasket surveys the items quarterly 33 cities across the state, including Shelbyville. The results are compared to similar studies that the organization does across the nation.

That national survey, which compares 16 items, shows the average cost increased by 2 percent in the past three months, according to a news release from American Farm Bureau Federation.

That was in contrast to figures released earlier this week for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index, which revealed that national food-at-home prices decreased by 0.1 percent in the last month.

According to Farm Bureau’s data, Kentucky’s prices are better than the national trend, showing only a .5 percent increase in the past year.

The Marketbasket Survey shows that the dairy category showed that the dairy category had the greatest total increase in price, up by 8 percent, and beef had the largest decrease (6.4 percent).  Beef in fact was the only market segment that declined in the past quarter.

The most expensive single item? A half-gallon of vanilla ice cream, which jumped 89 cents. T-bone steak was down by 99 cents per pound, which was the biggest decrease.

Overall, 21 of the 40 items in this survey experienced increases in average price, 17 decreased and two items (Idaho potatoes and bell peppers) were unchanged.

 “Overall, food prices have remained remarkably stable over the past two or three quarters, particularly given the run-up in energy prices over this most recent quarter,” John Anderson, American Farm Bureau Federation’s deputy chief economist, said in the release.

 “Looking ahead, we expect food prices to rise by three to four percent, which is slightly higher than the average rate of inflation over the past ten years.”