Louisiana Fall Marketbasket Survey Sees Higher Prices Due to Natural Disasters, Market Forces

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Prices at the grocery store have edged upwards in the last six months, according to a survey done by the Louisiana Farm Bureau.

The Fall Harvest Marketbasket survey reviews 16 staple food items and this year, found the cost to be $53.92, up from $50.33.  The price is higher than the national American Farm Bureau survey, which Louisiana contributed to.  The national price is $51.13, up 3 percent from one year ago. 

Louisiana Farm Bureau President Ronnie Anderson said there’s a number of contributing factors to the prices rising.

“You know, when I see the price for food go up at the grocery store, I think, ‘I wish farmers and ranchers were seeing that, too,’” Anderson said.  “Our take-home pay hasn’t gone up, but market forces have driven prices higher.

“For instance, with chicken, you saw the industry respond to a supply glut and so they’ve reduced production,” he added.  “There’s also a lot of outside events, such as Hurricane Irma that damaged Florida’s citrus crop, which is why orange juice is trending higher.  Also, higher prices for oil makes the cost of everything go up.

Denise Cannatella, a sugarcane and cattle farmer, participated in the survey.  She said she was surprised at how high orange juice was, but said prices were fairly average.

“Some stuff I found was at a good price and some was a little higher,” Cannatella said.    “It seemed about average.   OJ was really high.  Regular whole milk was half that price.  Flour was pretty cheap and so were eggs.”

As a cattle rancher, Cannatella knows the prices can fluctuate, but was concerned about the effect of higher meat prices on the general public. 

“I know in our family we’re going to buy it, because we love to support our industry,” she said.  “So we’ll buy a better grade of beef.  I know that other people may be on fixed incomes.  They don’t have the ability to adjust when prices go up at the grocery, so that’s concerning.”

Despite the higher prices, Cannatella echoed Anderson in saying the prices she receives have stayed the same.   

“Cattle prices are a little low right now,” Cannatella said.  “Like everything else, our inputs, the cost of us doing business, are not.  Making hay and labor has not gone down.  So we are still struggling, especially in the cattle industry.”

Cannatella said she thinks part of the price rise has to do with value-added cost, such as marketing.
 

“I’m not real happy with a lot of the marketing concerning the products we are growing,” she said.    “Prices are higher because of the marketing ploys and lot of the new packaging due to things like non-GMO labels.  It’s concerning, because we know the cost of what we grow and the cost of what is produced.  When they’re taking our product and adding cost without much benefit, it hurts consumers.” 

The following 16 items were the Marketbasket items for both Louisiana and the U.S. surveys:
 

·       Red delicious apples, 1 lb.,  $1.56

·       Russet potatoes, 5 lb., $3.68

·       Bagged salad 1 lb.,  $2.10

·       Orange juice, ½ gal., $3.37

·       Ground chuck, 1 lb., $4.68

·       Sirloin tip roast, 1 lb., $4.92

·       Bacon, 1 lb., $5.15

·       Sliced Deli ham, 1lb., $5.12

·       Boneless Chicken breast, 1lb.,  $3.15

·       Whole milk, 1 gal., $3.97

·       Shredded mild cheddar cheese, 1 lb.,  $3.70

·       Eggs, 1 doz., $1.88

·       Flour, 5 lbs., $2.29

·       Vegetable oil, 32 oz.,  $2.75

·       Toasted oats, 9 oz., $3.32

·       White bread, 20-oz. loaf, $2.28

Total:  $53.92

More information, including the American Farm Bureau Marketbasket survey, can be found on lfbf.org.