WACO, Tx. —Retail food prices showed a slight decrease during the first quarter of 2018, with a basket of 16 staple items at the grocery store totaling $45.53, according to the latest Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Grocery Price Watch survey.
Prices dropped .63 percent over last quarter, but they are up .90 percent over this time last year.
“The food prices this quarter showed a small decrease,” Russell Boening, TFB president, said. “Lower prices are good news for Texas families, because they help take a little pressure off tight budgets for consumers.”
The meat counter saw mixed prices in the first quarter. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts showed an eight-cent decrease from last quarter, ringing in at $3.28 per pound.
Ground beef—80 percent lean—also decreased, dropping five cents to $3.67 per pound.
Prices for sirloin steak and pork chops, however, increased slightly. Sirloin steak was up 13 cents to $6.10, and pork chops were up 14 cents to $3.84 per pound.
“Beef and pork were both driven slightly higher during the winter months. Demand helped this move, but it’s still not far from a normal seasonal change in price,” Boening said.
The dairy products in the basket posted lower prices in the first quarter.
Block cheddar cheese rang in at $2.76, down 12 cents, from last quarter, and 2% milk was down 11 cents to $2.96 per gallon. Vanilla ice cream also saw a small decrease of 4 cents to $6.06 per half gallon.
“The dairy herd and milk production in the U.S. have increased,” Boening said. “It’s a basic case of supply and demand. More cows mean more dairy products on the market and the results is a drop in price.”
In the produce aisle, prices for grapefruit were down 24 cents in the first quarter, due in large part to the seasonal increase in supply.
Boening noted Texas citrus growers have helped meet U.S. demand as Florida lost much of its citrus crop to Hurricane Irma.
Tomato prices dropped to $1.08 per pound, a decrease of 14 cents.
Of the 16 items surveyed, lettuce and rice also decreased in price.
Shoppers saw increased prices for white bread, corn flakes, dried pinto beans, vanilla cake mix and sliced turkey.
The TFB Grocery Price Watch is conducted quarterly by shoppers strategically located across the state. The current survey data was collected by 43 shoppers from March 2-8. TFB has monitored Texas food prices through its Grocery Price Watch survey since March 2009.