Meats, cheese and other supermarket food now cost 6.9% more

Shoppers browse the "Cheese and Charcuterie" section of Whole Foods Market in El Segundo. Cheese and meats were more expensive in the first quarter of 2012.
(Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times)

A basket of meats, cheese and other goodies from the grocery store cost 6.9% more in the first quarter of 2012 than it did a year earlier, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

A group of 16 items, including cheddar cheese, sirloin-tip roast, salad, orange juice and eggs, cost consumers $52.47 during the first three months of the year, the farm group said. During the same period last year, the price was $49.07. In the fourth quarter of 2011, it cost $49.23.

The cost of meats such as sliced deli ham and bacon were up due to strong demand and tight supplies, said AFBF senior economist John Anderson in a statement. But prices may have peaked, allowing for less expensive protein as the year continues, he said.


Flour, russet potatoes, apples and toasted oat cereal have all become pricier for consumers, according to the report. Only three items in the basket have gotten cheaper: whole milk, white bread and boneless chicken breasts.

Farmers ended up with an average of 16%, or $8.44, of the revenue from each theoretical basket. In the mid-1970s, they would receive about a third.

Americans spend less than 10% of their disposable annual income on food -- less than any other country, according to the USDA.


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