Retail food prices decline slightly in fourth quarter
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Shoppers paid a bit less for food at the grocery store during the fourth quarter of 2012, with some popular fruits and veggies showing a decline in retail price. Lower retail prices for russet potatoes, bagged salad and apples, among other foods, resulted in a slight decrease in the latest American Farm Bureau Federation Quarterly Marketbasket Survey.
The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $50.54, down $1.36 or about 3 percent compared to the third quarter of 2012. Of the 16 items surveyed, 10 decreased and six increased in average price compared to the prior quarter.
“While prices were down from the third quarter, compared to a year ago, the Marketbasket price was actually higher compared to a year ago, by about 3 percent,” said John Anderson, AFBF’s deputy chief economist. “Throughout 2012, food prices were relatively stable, thanks to very slow but steady growth in the general economy coupled with fairly stable energy prices. For this year, we expect food prices to rise by 3 to 4 percent, which is slightly higher than the average rate of inflation over the past 10 years.”
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