Kentucky grocery prices set new records

jpatton1@herald-leader.comJanuary 21, 2014 

Meat

Various cuts of beef and port are displayed for sale in the meat department at a discount market in Arlington, Va., Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE — AP

It wasn't your imagination: Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners really were more expensive this year. So were a lot of other meals.

According to the year's final quarterly Marketbasket Survey by the Kentucky Farm Bureau in December, prices were at all-time record levels.

The survey's 40 basic grocery items cost $120.08 for the quarter, up 93 cents, or 0.8 percent, from the third quarter of 2013, the previous record high. That was up 3.9 percent from the fourth quarter of 2012.

This matches the American Farm Bureau prediction for the year of food price increases of 3 to 4 percent, and is slightly higher than the average rate of inflation. According to Kentucky Farm Bureau, the survey shows Kentucky finally catching up to price increases seen nationally. (At the end of 2012, the survey found Kentucky's food prices to be unusually low.)

The biggest category price increase? Beef, which had an average price increase of almost 10 percent, or $3.04. Rib-eye steak had the greatest single-item increase, up almost 20 percent, or $1.86 a pound.

The biggest category decrease was for grains, which showed an average price drop of 8.4 percent or $1.25. The biggest single-item decrease was for Idaho potatoes, down an average of 88 cents for a 10-pound bag.

Dairy was unchanged from the previous quarter.

Overall, 19 of the 40 items in the survey experienced increases in average price, 20 decreased, and one, a gallon of 2 percent milk, went unchanged.

For comparison, five years ago, the average cost of the same 40 surveyed grocery items was $111.63, or 7.6 percent less than the average cost of those items today.

Janet Patton: (859) 231-3264. Twitter: @janetpattonhl.

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