State Capitol News
9:30 am
Thu July 26, 2012

Cost of Beef is Inflating Family Grocery Bill

The cost of feeding your family is going up, at least a bit. 

New figures from the Arizona Farm Bureau Federation put the price tag for a typical market basket of 16 selected basic items at $51.19. That's up about 40 cents from three months earlier, though slightly below the same time last year. But the federation's Julie Murphree said some major price swings are coming soon, especially in the price of meat. She blames the drought which has dried up the supply of grain and hay to feed the animals. The result is that ranchers, facing sharply higher prices for dwindling feed supplies, are selling off cattle they can no longer afford to feed.

"So for you and I consumer, for short-term periods, we might benefit from lower food prices," Murphree said. "And those should be hitting the market and benefitting our pocketbook soon. Long term, then, realize, because if cattle has been sent to the market early and then you're cycling through the whole season later on, when supply is lower we would see those meat prices increase."

The quarterly survey is based on what federation shoppers found at markets around the state. Murphree said the prices do not reflect use of coupons or the affinity cards that many supermarket chains provide which give holders additional discounts.