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Arizona Food Prices on the Rise

April 7, 2010

For the first time in 15 months, Arizona retail food prices at the supermarket increased in the first quarter of 2010, according to the latest Arizona Farm Bureau Federation Market Basket Survey. The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 basic grocery items was $45.96, up .07 cents from the fourth quarter of 2009. Comparatively, the American Farm Bureau Federation’s national survey was $45.54, up $2.64 or 6% higher compared to the fourth quarter of 2009.

Compared to one year ago the Arizona 2010 first-quarter Market Basket items decreased $8.47, a drop of nearly 16 percent.

“The foods that declined the most in retail price are among the least-processed items in our Market Basket,” said Sharla Mortimer, chair of the Arizona Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee.  “Seasonality of foods also affects prices at the grocery store. Economical foods purchased in season, allow for more creativity in the kitchen.”

To access an entire menu focused on those food items down in price in the second quarter and designed around stretching your food dollar, go to Look for the “Stretch Your Food Dollar” menu and the additional food savings tips.

“Demand recovery was the main driver behind slightly higher retail prices.” said Arizona Farm Bureau Public Relations Director Julie Murphree. “Consumers are slowly getting back to their normal spending patterns.”

“Energy costs moved higher during the first quarter of the year and hit an 18-month high at the end of March,” Murphree added. “The effect of increased energy costs for transportation, processing, and more will likely influence retail food prices to a greater degree during the second quarter of the year.”

Of the 16 items surveyed in Arizona, nine decreased and seven increased, compared to the 2009 fourth-quarter survey. The national survey shows two decreased and 14 increased.

In Arizona, Russet potatoes showed the greatest decrease in price down $1.04 to $1.71 for the 5-pound bag;  Salad mix down 64 cents to $2.30 a pound; Sirloin tip roast down .38 cents to $4.39 a pound; boneless chicken breast down .33 cents to $3.84 a pound; a 5-pound bag of flour down 28 cents to $2.27; toasted oat cereal down 13 cents to $2.76 for the 8.9 ounce box; a gallon of whole milk down 10 cents to $2.19; ground beef down 6 cents to $ 3.36 a pound; and bacon down 3cents to $3.02 a pound.

Vegetable oil showed the largest price increase up 88 cents to $3.22 for the 32-ounce bottle.  The other items that increased in price were orange juice up 39 cents to $3.33 a half gallon; Shredded cheddar cheese up 31 cents to $4.26 a pound; a 20-oz loaf of white bread up 14 cents to $1.58; eggs up 8 cents to $1.81 a dozen; red delicious apples up 3cents a pound to $1.22;  and deli ham up 2 cents to $4.70 a pound.

As retail grocery prices have gradually increased over time, the share of the average food dollar that America’s farm and ranch families receive has dropped. “In the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures for food eaten at home and away from home, on average.  That figure has decreased steadily over time and is now just 19 percent, according to Agriculture Department statistics,” explains John Anderson, American Farm Bureau Economist.

Using the “food at home and away from home” percentage across-the-board, the Arizona farmer’s share of this quarter’s $45.96 Market Basket total would be $8.73.

The Farm Bureau Market Basket Survey is unscientific, but serves as a gauge of actual price trends across the state. Bargain shoppers statewide should find individual items at prices comparable to the Farm Bureau survey averages and certainly cheaper with discounts and in-store specials. Arizona Farm Bureau seeks to identify the best in-store price, excluding promotional coupons and special deals.

First quarter-2010

Fourth quarter-2009

Arizona National Arizona National
Red Delicious apples $ 1.22 $  1.50     ▲ $ 1.19 $ 1.25
Russet potatoes, 5 lbs $ 1.71 $  2.26     ▼ $ 2.75 $ 2.18
Ground Chuck, lb. $ 3.36 $ 2.63     ▼ $ 3.42 $  2.69
Sirloin tip roast, lb. $ 4.39 $ 3.69     ▼                  $ 4.77 $ 3.60
Sliced deli ham, lb. $ 4.70 $ 4.83     ▲ $ 4.68 $ 4.35
Bacon, lb. $ 3.02 $ 3.22     ▼ $ 3.05 $ 3.00
Boneless chicken breast, lb. $ 3.84 $ 2.93     ▼ $ 4.17 $ 2.71
Whole milk, gallon $ 2.19 $ 3.15     ▼ $ 2.29 $ 3.04
Shredded Mild cheddar cheese, lb. $ 4.26 $ 4.26     ▲ $ 3.95 $ 3.65
Eggs, one dozen large, Grade A $ 1.81 $ 1.74     ▲ $ 1.73 $ 1.55
All-purpose flour, 5 lbs. $ 2.27 $ 2.26     ▼ $ 2.55 $ 2.10
Orange juice, ½ gal. $ 3.33 $ 2.98     ▲ $ 2.94 $ 2.93
Vegetable oil, 32 oz. $ 3.22 $ 2.74     ▲ $ 2.34 $ 2.51
American Salad Mix, 1 lb  $ 2.30 $ 2.67     ▼ $ 2.94 $ 2.57
Toasted oat cereal, 8.9-oz. Box $ 2.76 $ 2.97     ▼ $ 2.89 $ 2.95
White bread, 20-oz. Loaf $ 1.58 $ 1.71     ▲ $ 1.44 $ 1.82

Key: ▲ up ; ▼ Down;  E even

2010 Market Basket Survey Results

Arizona Farm Bureau Money Saving Tips to Stretch your Food Dollars

  • When shopping stay on track, refer to your list often
  • Check the newspaper for sale items then make a plan where to shop.
  • Use grocery store club cards and then compare prices to store brands
  • Go through your pantry and keep it organized so you know what you have.
  • Consider buying frozen vegetables, they are picked fresh, flash frozen immediately and are less expensive and will keep longer.
  • If you are not able to purchase frozen,  buy fresh instead of processed items.
  • When planning your menu think about what you already have then use coupons to springboard your meal planning.  If lettuce, tomatoes and bacon are on special, why not BLTs for dinner?
  • Buy in bulk, but don’t buy more than you can eat.
  • Clip and use coupons.  Put a ‘C’ next to items on your list that you have a coupon for, it will help you remember to use it at the checkout stand.
  • Shop the edges of the store avoiding the items at the ends of the aisles.
  • Keep tabs on spending by keeping a running tally of what’s in your shopping cart.
  • When shopping meat sales items, consider stocking your freezer.

Stretch Your Food Dollar Menu IX

Arizona Farm Bureau put together a menu to help you stretch your food dollar by utilizing items that have gone down in price. This quarter’s items down in price are potatoes, sirloin tip roast, ground beef, boneless chicken breast, milk, flour, salad mix, bacon, and toasted oat cereal. Arizona Farm Bureau recommends stocking up on dairy and meat items as they are ideally priced. To obtain actual recipes for the “Stretch Your Food Dollar Menu IX” go to and click on the recipe tab.  All the recipes for menu IX are from Arizona producers.

Menu for the Week:

Sunday: 3-Whole Roasted Chickens

(Save broth for Monday’s rice)

Mashed potatoes



Milk or Iced Tea

Monday: Beef and Potato Tacos

Refried beans

Mexican Rice

Milk or Iced Tea

Tuesday: Chicken Caesar Salad

Waldorf salad

Garlic Toast

Milk or Iced Tea

Wednesday: Chicken Enchiladas

Mixed green tossed Salad

Milk or Iced Tea

Thursday: Meat Loaf

Mashed potatoes


Milk or Iced Tea

Friday: Build-your-own baked potato

Add your own toppings using leftovers

Milk or Iced Tea

Saturday: Crock-pot Roast

Pot-of-beans (Navy or Pinto)


Milk or Iced Tea

***You may adjust this suggested menu to your family’s likes and needs*

Shopping list

Dry goods:

1 large can Refried beans

1 lb bag rice

1 pkg Taco Seasoning

1 small can tomato sauce

8 oz walnuts

1 small package raisins

1 lb bag of navy or pinto beans


2- 5 lbs potatoes

2 bags Caesar salad mix

1 head iceberg luttuce

4 large apples

1 bunch celery

2 medium yellow onions

2 tomatoes

1 bunch asparagus


4-5 lbs pot roast

3-lbs ground beef

1 lbs bacon

3 whole chickens


2 gallons milk

1-large block (1 lb) shredded cheese

1 large bag shredded jack cheese

Cool whip



Pantry items you might have on hand:

Garlic powder or salt

Vegetable oil



Salad dressing

Salt & Pepper



12 count rolls

1 loaves French or Italian bread

1 package flour tortillas

2 packages corn tortillas

1 -4 oz can diced green chili

1-can green chili enchilada sauce

1 can cream of mushroom soup

Taco Sauce

1-pkg frozen peas

The cost of all the items on the “Stretch Your Food Dollar Menu IX” is about $94.75.

About the Arizona Farm Bureau

Arizona Farm Bureau began a quarterly Market Basket starting the fourth quarter of 2006. The Arizona Farm Bureau is a grassroots organization dedicated to preserving and improving the Agriculture industry through member involvement in education, political activities, programs and services. Go to to learn more. To obtain “Stretch Your Food Dollar” menu and nutrition information go to

As a member services organization, individuals can become a member by contacting the Farm Bureau. For information on member benefits call 480.635.3609.

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