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Meat, Cheese Push Food Price Rise

Meat, Cheese Push Food Price Rise

Latest farm basket study shows that these two staples saw the biggest price rise in the first quarter of 2012.

Rising livestock prices are pushing up costs for consumers according to the latest supermarket survey from the American Farm Bureau Federation. The group's information marketbasket survey looks at 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals. The cost hit $52.47 in the latest quarter - about 7% above fourth quarter 2011.

PUSHING UP FOOD PRICES: Latest survey tags deli ham, sirloin tip and even cheddar cheese for raising marketbasket value.

About two-thirds of the quarter-to-quarter increase was due to higher retail prices for deli ham, sirloin tip roast, ground chuck, bacon and cheddar cheese. John Anderson, AFBF senior economist comments: "Retail prices for meats and cheese were higher in the first quarter of the year due to generally strong demand and tight supplies, a situation that carried over from 2011. According to Agriculture Department data, retail meat prices probably peaked sometime in the first quarter, and wholesale prices have declined noticeably in recent weeks. This suggests that retail meat prices may decline as 2012 progresses."

Reversing a decline in the prior quarter, sliced deli ham increased 74 cents to $5.43 per pound; sirloin tip roast increased 60 cents to $4.75 per pound; ground chuck increased 36 cents to $3.53 per pound; shredded cheddar increased 33 cents to $4.65 per pound and bacon increased 16 cents to $4.21 per pound.

Other items that increased in price compared to the fourth quarter of last year were bagged salad, up 37 cents to $2.85 per pound; flour, up 27 cents to $2.65 for a 5-pound bag; Russet potatoes, up 26 cents to $3.01 for a 5-pound bag; orange juice, up 19 cents to $3.36 for a half-gallon; apples, up 19 cents to $1.59 per pound; toasted oat cereal, up 6 cents to $3.13 for a 9-ounce box; large eggs, up 5 cents to $1.77 per dozen; and vegetable oil, up 1 cent to $2.97 for a 32-ounce bottle.

Whole milk decreased 23 cents to $3.53 per gallon; white bread decreased 7 cents to $1.85 for a 20-ounce loaf and boneless chicken breasts decreased 5 cents to $3.19 per pound.

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