The survey by the Arizona Farm Bureau Federation found the cost of a typical market basket of 16 popular items last quarter was $51.39.
That's up 68 cents from the three months prior -- and nearly $6 more than the same time a year earlier. The organization's Julie Murphree said the findings reflect "what has been going on in 2011, which is this steady increase in food inflation. I do believe it's going to level off a little bit better in 2012 than it did this last year," she said.
But Murphree noted that one item on that shopping list is orange juice. And investors have bid up the price of orange juice futures after the freeze that damaged Florida's crop as well as a fungicide that showed up in oranges from Brazil which means they cannot be imported into this country.
And Murphree said that effect is likely to show up in future reports, even in a citrus-growing state like Arizona, "because we do have a local market and you can purchase local when the citrus is at its peak, it might defray it slightly. But I think we will see an increase in our orange juice prices."
Murphree said the best defense from higher prices overall is to use coupons and shop the weekly specials.