Survey: Food prices increase slightly to begin 2019

Published 7:11 pm Wednesday, April 17, 2019


News release

LOUISVILLE — The most recent Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) Marketbasket Survey indicates a slight increase to the overall cost of food to begin 2019. The Marketbasket Survey is taken four times per year at the end of each quarter to monitor overall and categorical trends in food prices across the Commonwealth. The survey gathers the prices of 40 basic food items throughout the state and then averages the numbers into six categories: beef, pork, poultry, dairy, fruits and vegetables, and grains.

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The average overall cost of food prices in the first quarter of 2019 was $118.64, up 1.85 percent from $116.44 in the fourth quarter of 2018. These findings are a shift from the end of last year, which indicated overall decreases of $0.97 in the third quarter and $0.86 in the fourth quarter, respectively.

Like in Kentucky, the national findings from the latest Consumer Price Index report in March shows an overall increase in food prices as well. The summary indicates the overall cost of food increased 2 percent over the past year, which marks the largest 12-month increase since April 2015.

Marketbasket Survey specifics: First quarter prices of specific items and commodities remain a mixed bag with a number of items showing price decreases while others increased. Most notably, the price of pork products increased 5.71 percent and the price of grains increased 4.65 percent since the fourth quarter of 2018. Meanwhile, the overall cost of beef was down 2.01 percent and poultry was down 1.42 percent since the fourth quarter of 2018.

Agricultural Economics in Food Prices: Whether or not U.S. grocery prices fluctuate from one quarterly survey to the next, Kentuckians and all Americans continue to enjoy some of the lowest food prices in the world. Shoppers in the U.S. spend only about seven percent of their disposable income on food each year. Those costs remain far lower than any other country in the world thanks to many of the agricultural efficiencies utilized in America. The average U.S. farmer produces enough food and fiber to provide for about 154 people — a number that has continuously grown since 1940 when the average was 19 people per farmer.