I’m in the grocery store at least once a week. And believe me, if I didn’t live 20 minutes away I’d be there a lot more often. I’m pretty good at guestimating the total cost of my cart using nothing more than simple life experience. Believe me, I notice when the cost of food goes up.
When it comes to meat, I can’t get as much for my dollar as I used to. I’ve notice the price of eggs is climbing steadily (although I get my eggs from the backyard) and we’ll drink $12-$15 worth of milk in a week, never mind cheese, yogurt, etc..
What’s funny is that I never really notice when prices go down.
The American Farm Bureau Federation does a pretty cool project several times a year where they send out 88 volunteers in 30 states to record food prices at the stores where they shop. They just finished their 4th of July estimates and guess what? If you’re buying hot dog, buns, cheeseburgers, potato salad, baked beans, corn chips, pork spare ribs, lemonade, watermelon, and chocolate milk (and who is not?!) you are likely paying 3 percent LESS than you did in July of last year!
They gather prices based on the amount of food needed to feed ten people. The grand total for this year is $55.84, or $5.58 per person.
Last year’s total was $57.57. What went down in cost? Well, two big ones were the pork and dairy products. Buns and baked beans also went down; lemonade and ketchup are up.
Why are some prices declining? Well, we’re producing more pigs, so supply and demand says pork costs are down. Beef production is stable, so at least prices aren’t still jumping. Another factor is fuel and energy costs, which are lower now than they were a year ago. Keep in mind that, according to the USDA, the farmer only receives about 17 cents of each dollar you spend on food.
In fact, the farmer is only a small part of the cost of food. This graphic, also from the USDA, shows who contributes to the cost of food.
So stand a little taller America. Our country produces the cheapest, safest, most abundant food on the planet.
Now go enjoy your $6.00 cookout!