Editorial: Good news: Arizona's food prices decline

Money's tight for many of us this summer as we attempt to remain afloat in a poor economy. We are saving every way we can. There is good news, though. According to the latest Arizona Farm Bureau Federation Marketbasket Survey, food prices dropped by 6.5 percent during the second quarter of 2009. Arizona Farm Bureau released these figures earlier this month when they released their sixth "Stretch Your Food Dollar" menu for Arizona families.

The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 basic grocery items was $50.89, or $3.54 less than the first quarter of 2009. The market basket is reflective of food items that represent today's shopper. Foods with the least processing costs, such as meats, milk and eggs, continue to decrease.

According to Arizona Farm Bureau, of the 16 items surveyed in Arizona, 13 decreased and three increased compared to the 2009 first quarter study. This is the third consecutive quarter reflecting a decrease in Arizona food prices.

In Arizona, shredded cheddar cheese and orange juice showed the largest retail price increases. Shredded cheddar cheese was up $1.22 to $4.87 a pound; and, orange juice was up 84 cents to $3.33 per half gallon. The one other item that increased in price was the 20-ounce loaf of white bread up 4 cents to $1.63.

Boneless chicken breasts showed the greatest decrease in price down $1.26 to $3.49 a pound; Russet potatoes down $1.18 to $2.51 a 5-pound bag; a 32-ounce bottle of vegetable oil down 93 cents to $3.36; deli ham down 40 cents to $4.98 a pound; 5-pound bag of flour down 39 cents to $2.80; sirloin tip roast down 35 cents to $4.64 a pound; whole milk down 30 cents to $2.57 a gallon; 1 dozen eggs down 27 cents to $1.72; ground beef down 25 cents to $3.74 a pound; bacon down 19 cents to $3.69 a pound; red delicious apples down 6 cents a pound to $1.40; 1 pound bag of salad mix down 4 cents to $2.95 and toasted oat cereal down 2 cents for the 8.9 ounce box to $3.21.

To find out how you can maximize your food dollars, visit fillyourplate.org. There you will find tips on how to save money while shopping, along with complete grocery lists and Stretch Your Food Dollar menus.

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