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1/9/2013 1:16:00 PM
Food prices hold stable in Arizona

Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services


PHOENIX -- Trying to save money on food?

You might want to consider the "other white meat."

Peggy Jo Goodfellow of the Arizona Farm Bureau Federation said the drought in the Midwest and the resultant shortage of animal feed has driven up the cost of beef being sold in Arizona markets. In some cases the increases are significant, with the cost of a pound of sirloin top roast in the last quarter of 2012 up more than 10 percent from the prior quarter.

There's a similar sharp increase in the price of ground chuck, another of the marketbasket of typical items the Farm Bureau uses for its quarterly price survey.

But shoppers are paying less for bacon.

The reason, Goodfellow said, is Arizona has its own fairly substantial pork industry. And the producers here have not been subject to the price hikes for feed that have afflicted their Midwest counterparts.

Despite the higher prices for beef, chicken and milk, Goodfellow said the overall survey produced no real surprises.

"Prices have been fairly stable,' she said. In fact, the $50.54 tab for the 16 items that the Farm Bureau prices is actually slightly less than the same time a year earlier.

Goodfellow also said that lower prices may be on the horizon.

She said the cost of fuel to run everything from tractors to the trucks that deliver groceries to the market make up a big share of what consumers pay. Goodfellow said she expects the lower fuel prices now to translate into savings in April or May.

The quarterly survey is based on what federation shoppers found at markets around the state. Goodfellow said the prices do not reflect use of coupons or the affinity cards that many supermarket chains provide which give holders additional discounts.



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