PHOENIX -- A spike in the price of animal feed is making the cost of that glass of milk much more expensive in Arizona.
New figures Tuesday from the Arizona Farm Bureau Federation show the average cost of a gallon of whole milk this past quarter was running $3.07. That's up more than 25 percent from the same period just three months earlier.
But Peggy Jo Goodfellow, the organization's marketing manager, said that big hike is more than offset by a decline in most of the other items in the typical market basket. The price tag for that is pegged at $47.97, down from $49.75 in the first quarter -- and $3.22 less than the same period a year earlier for the same items.
Helping push down the bottom line are lower prices for meat, especially ham and bacon. Goodfellow says some of this is likely to grocery stores each trying to hang on to their share of the market.
"In Arizona, our retailers are very competitive,' she said. Goodfellow said that seems to have been especially borne out in pork prices, with various markets all running specials during the time the Farm Bureau was doing its quarterly survey.
But Goodfellow cautioned that higher prices may be on the horizon, for the same reason that milk is now more expensive: the cost of feed. The only difference is timing.
"In dairy, it's more of an immediate reaction to the feed price, because dairy is a 24-hour cycle,' she said. But the current higher cost of feed won't show up in meat prices until later, when the animals go to market.
"We don't have a crystal ball on this,' Goodfellow said. "But it does look like we're going to see higher meat prices.'
That presents an opportunity for those who have large freezers and can shop at the current discounts, especially for pork and even chicken, which has come down in price.
Milk isn't the only thing that's going to take a bigger bite out of consumer's wallets.
Orange juice is up a bit, as is vegetable oil, toasted oat cereal and a bag of American salad mix.
The quarterly survey is based on what federation shoppers found at markets around the state. These prices do not reflect use of coupons or the affinity cards that many supermarket chains provide which give holders additional discounts.