Food prices in Kentucky fell by 7.5 percent last year, according to the Kentucky Farm Bureau’s quarterly Marketbasket Survey.
Every three months, Farm Bureau checks the cost of 40 basic grocery items such as milk, cheese, chicken breast and potatoes. Four quarters in a row, the collective price for these items fell. In December, at the last check, the average price fell 1.8 percent from $121.64 in the third quarter to $119.43, a drop of $2.21. For the year, costs fell a combined $9.71.
Nationally the latest Consumer Price Index found for December 2015, the food index fell 0.2 percent as the index for food at home decreased 0.5 percent, led by a sharp decline in the index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs. This marks the largest decline since March 2015. For 2016, prices are expected to rise 2 to 3 percent with inflation, with higher increases possible from weather-related problems.
With a historic El Niño expected to hit this year, farmers may be hit by challenging growing conditions.
In the Kentucky Farm Bureau’s survey, price drops occurred in three of the six surveyed categories: beef, pork and dairy. Poultry, grains and fruits and vegetables saw increases.
The biggest drop was in pork prices, which fell 8 percent, followed by dairy, down 5.8 percent. The biggest increase was in grains, which saw a 4.2 percent increase, followed by poultry, up 3.4 percent.