Food costs have spiked in the state as a result of drought. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer explains.
The latest survey of food prices by the Arizona Farm Bureau Federation puts the cost of a typical market basket of 16 items at $52.64. That’s close to 10 percent higher than the same time last year. And, what’s driving that is the cost of meat. Last year you could buy a pound of ground chuck for $3.52. This year it costs 15 percent more. And, that $5.69-a-pound sirloin tip roast available last year now is running $6.45. The organization’s Julie Murphree said the price hikes reflect higher costs to ranchers.
“Certain regions of the country were experiencing drought of course they had to pull back on their herds. You know there’s a cost to feed them. And, you didn’t have the availability of feed like you typically do,” she said.
But, it’s not just the cost of beef that’s skyrocketed. Deli ham spiked by 90 cents a pound in the last year, up to $4.59. And, even boneless chicken breasts are much dearer, hitting $4.41 a pound. Murphree said there’s a direct link to those beef prices. As shoppers found those prices going up, they turned to alternatives. But that, in turn, made them more in demand, driving up the price at the register.