Food prices fall in final quarter of 2009
Houston County Courier - January 2010
CROCKETT - As Texans look ahead to what the New Year may hold, food prices should be one less of a concern than they were a year ago.
That’s according to the latest Texas Farm Bureau Grocery Price Watch, which found that shoppers not only shaved a few cents off their grocery bills from the third to fourth quarters of the year, but they saved, on average, almost $2 in comparison to what they paid for the same items at the beginning of 2009.
Food prices on the 16 items sampled across the Lone Star State rang in at $50.29 in the final quarter of the year, having fallen 17 cents, on average, since the last informal survey conducted three months ago.
The survey also found that fourth quarter prices had fallen $1.68, on average, from Texas Farm Bureau’s first Grocery Price Watch conducted at the start of 2009.
“This has definitely been a tough year for all of us, farmers, ranchers and consumers alike,” said Texas Farm Bureau President Kenneth Dierschke, a San Angelo cotton and grain farmer.
“Economic and commodity markets dove. Mother Nature tossed us one of the worst droughts ever. But even in hard times, our farmers and ranchers in this great state continue a grand tradition of growing the best possible food and fiber in ways that ensure they remain the most affordable in the world.”
The current survey was conducted during the week of Dec. 13-19 by 22 volunteer shoppers all across Texas. This final quarter survey marks the first full year of Texas Farm Bureau’s Grocery Price Watch, and it will serve as a benchmark for future annual food price comparisons.
Shoppers of dairy goods picked up some of the largest savings of the quarter, the latest survey shows, with cheddar cheese falling an average of 78 cents to $4.17 per one-pound block and ice cream falling an average of 48 cents to $5.01 per half gallon. Whole milk, however, was up 39 cents to $4.03 per gallon.
Other items noting price declines in the final quarter of 2009 included turkey slices, down 41 cents to $4.45 per 16-ounce package; corn flakes, down 27 cents to $2.91 per 18-ounce box; grapefruit, down 17 cents to 85 cents per pound; cake mix, down 14 cents to $1.14 per box; bread, down 8 cents to $2.12 per 24-ounce loaf; and porterhouse steaks, down a nickel to $8.28 per pound.
The largest single cost increase during the fourth quarter came in the price of boneless pork chops, up 52 cents to $3.56 per pound.
Other increases included lettuce, up 51 cents to $1.58 per head; tomatoes, up 42 cents to $1.78 per pound; dried pinto beans, up 18 cents to $3.93 per 64-ounce bag; and lean ground beef, up two pennies to $2.62 per pound.
Rice, $1.12 per pound, and boneless, skinless chicken breasts, $3.17 per pound, saw no change in average price at the end of 2009.