Arizona’s competitive grocery market keeps food prices down

PHOENIX – If you consider bacon to be one of the basic food groups, the news from Arizona grocers is not good.

The latest survey of prices by the Arizona Farm Bureau Federation has this breakfast favorite selling for an average of $5.57 a pound. That’s up 83 cents a pound from just three months ago.

“Americans love their bacon’’ said federation spokeswoman Julie Murphree. And that, she said, has translated into a high demand.

Even at the wholesale commodities level, the price for pork belies is up 71 percent since the start of the year. And with demand continuing to outstrip supply, Murphree said there’s no reason to believe the retail prices will be dropping soon.

She said one thing keeping prices in Arizona from going even higher is the state’s competitive grocery market. Murphree said that means retailers hoping to get customers in the door have to consider how much buyers are willing to pay.

In fact, she said, savvy shoppers can probably do better than the federation’s own surveyors. That’s because while they look for lowest advertised prices, they do not take advantage of specials offered by some chains through loyalty card discounts which can drive down prices even more.

The cost of deli ham also is up year-over-year, with mixed results on beef, with higher costs for ground chuck but lower prices – though still somewhat expensive – for sirloin tip roast at $6.20 a pound.

But expect to pay more for boneless chicken breasts.

Egg prices also have stabilized after several years of high costs.

Overall, the cost of the market basket of 16 typical items rose $2.44 from the second quarter of last year. But prices are virtually identical to the same time a year ago.

Item / 3rd qtr 2017 / 3rd qtr 2016

Red delicious apples (pound) / $1.55 / $1.49

Russet potatoes (5 pounds) / $2.71 / $2.67

Ground chuck (pound) / $3.60 / $3.24

Sirloin tip roast (pound) / $6.20 / $6.88

Sliced deli ham (pound) / $4.29 / $3.79

Bacon (pound) / $5.57 / $4.78

Boneless chicken breasts (pound) / $3.08 / $2.48

Whole milk (gallon) / $2.19 / $2.27

Shredded mild cheddar cheese (pound) / $4.84 / $4.31

Grade A eggs (dozen) / $1.59 / $2.20

All-purpose flour (5 pounds) / $1.90 / $1.90

Orange juice (1/2 gallon) / $3.00 / $2.92

Vegetable oil (quart) / $1.41 / $2.29

American salad mix (pound) / $2.65 / $2.85

Toasted oat cereal (8.9 ounce box) / $2.95 / $3.17

White bread (20 ounce) / $0.97 / $1.16

– Source: Arizona Farm Bureau Federation

Market basket of 16 selected basic items:

2017 3rd qtr – $48.50

2017 2nd qtr – $46.06

2017 1st qtr – $49.16

2016 4th qtr – $47.07

2016 3rd qtr – $48.72

2016 2nd qtr – $49.26

2016 1st qtr – $51.20

2015 4th qtr – $51.15

2015 3rd qtr – $54.57

2015 2nd qtr – $50.88

2015 1st qtr – $50.29

2014 4th qtr – $53.02

2014 3rd qtr – $50.88

2014 2nd qtr – $52.64

2014 1st qtr – $52.40

2013 4th qtr – $51.62

2013 3rd qtr – $50.87

2013 2nd qtr – $47.97

2013 1st qtr – $49.75

2012 4th qtr – $50.54

2012 3rd qtr – $49.25

2012 2nd qtr – $51.19

2012 1st qtr – $50.79

2011 4th qtr – $51.39

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

(all figures in actual dollars at the time, not adjusted for inflation)

– Source: Arizona Farm Bureau Federation