Supermarket prices for 16 basic food items surged to a record in the third quarter because of higher commodity costs and increased processing and transportation expenses, the American Farm Bureau Federation said.
The average cost of typical weekly consumer purchases rose 11 percent to $48.68 in the three months ended Sept. 30, from $44.03 a year earlier, the federation said today in a statement. Costs rose 4.3 percent from the second quarter.
“Sustained high costs for processing, hauling and refrigerating food products are reverberating at the retail level,” Jim Sartwelle, an economist for the American Farm Bureau in Washington, said in the statement.
The share of the food dollar that went to farmers and ranchers fell to 19 percent in the quarter, the lowest in the quarterly survey's 20-year history and down from about 32 percent in 1980, the federation said.
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Retail prices for flour, potatoes, cheddar cheese and apples showed the largest increases in the quarter. A 5-pound bag of flour cost $2.62, up 37 percent from a year ago, while 5 pounds of potatoes jumped 32 percent to $3.38. Prices for cheddar and apples surged 21 percent.
Vegetable oil rose 17 percent, a dozen eggs jumped 13percent, pork chops were up 6.8 percent, and hamburger cost 5 percent more, the federation said.
Corn futures surged 70percent on the Chicago Board of Trade during the quarter from a year earlier, wheat increased 11 percent, and live cattle rose 8.2 percent, according to Bloomberg data.
Food-price inflation may run as high as 6 percent this year, the highest since 1980, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
A total of 74 volunteer shoppers in 32 states participated in the survey, conducted in August, the Farm Bureau Federation said.