Survey finds food prices in Missouri below national average

3 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago Tuesday, November 21 2017 Nov 21, 2017 Tuesday, November 21, 2017 6:19:00 PM CST November 21, 2017 in News
By: Amber Sipe, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA - The American Farm Bureau Federation conducted a survey on 16 food items from 25 states across the country and found Missouri’s retail food prices are less than the national average.

The survey was conducted with 81 shoppers voluntarily purchasing the items on the list and recording the total price and where they shopped.

The AFBF Harvest Marketbasket survey included bacon, chicken breast, sliced deli ham, sirloin tip roast, ground chuck steak, flour, orange juice, whole milk, vegetable oil, white bread, toasted oat cereal, shredded cheddar, bagged lettuce, eggs, potatoes and apples. The items were chosen because they can be used to prepare several meals. 

Columbia resident Billy Dearing grocery shops for a household of seven.

“Our grocery bill will range anywhere from $150-$200 per week,” he said.

The average national price of all 16 items was $51.13. Missouri’s prices were a total $2.83 less at $48.30.

“I think based off of what people make in this state, it’s probably pretty in line,” Dearing said.

Diane Olson, director of promotion and education for the Missouri Farm Bureau, said cost of living “certainly is a factor.” 

The national price was up $1.43 from last year. Missouri’s prices, however, dropped $1.05.

“We can get food from either coast at a much less expense than you can get food from California to Florida,” Olson said. 

According to the farm bureau, national supply and demand drove up the price of chicken. Problems with supply related to Hurricane Irma increased prices in orange juice. The agency said bacon is a “sexy food” right now and high demand means high prices.

Although prices in Missouri are less than the national average, prices in the state have risen over the last year. 

Olson said bacon has had the most drastic price increase, not only nationally, but also in Missouri. Olson said it wasn't that long ago that the cost per pound was just $1.59, but it actually increased by that amount over the past year.

Dearing said he's not surprised overall prices are higher.

“You can just see it all around, because I know gas prices have gone up. Everything has gone up, so that directly affects our dinner table,” he said.

Dearing said he has seen a decrease in food quality from companies trying to keep prices low.

There were some foods that saw price decreases. Five pounds of flour fell the most.

According to the Missouri Farm Bureau, the prices of most food items each year have shifted in the same direction as the government’s consumer prices index report for food at home.

“A lot of it is supply and demand, but storms, droughts and all different kinds of things impact agriculture, which ultimately impacts our food supply,” Olson said.

The farm bureau conducts Marketbasket surveys each quarter, with the next one coming out in mid-November.

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