Where Does Your Food Dollar Go?

The American Farm Bureau recently released their semi-annual market basket survey, which shows people are paying a bit for food at the grocery store. Meat prices appear to be the main culprit of price increase. It really should have been an expected increase what with lower production in the beef and pork industry. Prices rose about two percent this year, which, according to the study, is essentially in line with the average rate of inflation over the past 10 years.

Here is a breakdown of the products included in the study.

Items showing retail price increases from a year ago include: 2014_Marketbasket_Survey_October

  • sirloin tip roast, up 27 percent to $5.52 per pound
  • ground chuck, up 17 percent to $4.31 per pound
  • sliced deli ham, up 16 percent to $5.44 per pound
  • bacon, up 9 percent to $5.11 per pound
  • shredded cheddar, up 6 percent to $4.78 per pound
  • eggs, up 7 percent to $1.95 per dozen
  • whole milk, up 2 percent to $3.78 per gallon

Items showing retail price decreases from a year ago include:

  • Russet potatoes, down 15 percent to $2.72 for a five-pound bag
  • vegetable oil, down 14 percent to $2.69 for a 32-ounce bottle
  • chicken breast, down 12 percent to $3.46 per pound
  • bagged salad, down 10 percent to $2.55 per pound
  • orange juice, down 8 percent to $3.21 per half-gallon
  • flour, down 7 percent to $2.47 for a five-pound bag
  • white bread, down 6 percent to $1.72 for a 20-ounce loaf
  • toasted oat cereal, down 3 percent to $2.99 for a 9-ounce box
  • apples, down 2 percent to $1.56 per pound



Now, before anyone starts blaming farmers for their “costly” bacon cheeseburger, think about this. Did you know farmers only receive about 16 cents of every dollar consumers spend on food? Are you surprised? Now put that in perspective. Where is the other 84 cents being spent? On processing, distribution, marketing, etc.

farmers dollar

The U.S Department of Agriculture runs numbers and keeps close track of what farmers are paying to stay in business and what kind of profit they take away after harvest. Their reports who farmer’s expenses continue to rise (13% since 2011) while farmer’s profits decrease. They are getting about 3.5% less for their products this latter part of 2014 than they did at the beginning of the year. So why do farmers and ranchers continue to run a business this way? Because of their love of the land and livestock, their willingness for hard work and their strong character.

In the end, I hope this will help people keep farmers in mind at the dinner table.

“The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale and pays the freight both ways.” -John F. Kennedy


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