Home / economy / Grocery costs up 5% in past year, led by beef price spike

Grocery costs up 5% in past year, led by beef price spike

steakHungry for red meat? You may want to adjust your taste buds.

New figures Thursday from the Arizona Farm Bureau Federation show the cost of beef in the state is skyrocketing.

Consider: Just two years ago the quarterly survey by the organization showed you could buy sirloin tip roast at $4.85 a pound. The survey of prices in the first quarter of this year put the average price at $6.49.

The story is more mixed with less-expensive cuts, with the price of ground chuck, while up from a year ago, still pretty close to what it was in 2012.

But Farm Bureau spokeswoman Julie Murphree said consumers looking for prices to drop may have a long wait.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see our meat prices within this market basket maintain that higher price for a while,” she said.

Murphree said beef prices continue to be impacted by drought conditions. That has driven up the cost of feed. At the same time, she said, the demand for U.S. beef is increasing, not just domestically but worldwide.

Murphree said one way for beef lovers to continue to enjoy it is to eat at home.

And she said there are bargains to be had for “smart shoppers.”

“Remember, we’re not using in-store coupons” in doing the quarterly surveys. “And there’s some really good deals out there, even in your meat, if you hunt for them.”

Egg prices also continue to creep upward, with the average now at $2.27.

Murphree said this is also an issue of supply and, more significant, demand – much of that from Mexico.

She pointed out that nation has killed millions of chickens in the last two years due to bird flu. At the same time, Murphree said, per capita use of eggs is much higher south of the border than it is here.

But Murphree said even at that, the value for the protein available “is still an amazing value.”

Milk prices also are up. But Murphree said she expects a decline later this year as milk consumption generally drops in the summer.

Overall, the bottom line for the cost of the 16 typical items checked quarterly by the Farm Bureau is up about 1.5 percent from the prior quarter and 5 percent year over year.

Grocery Item  1st qtr 2014  4th qtr 2013


% change

Red delicious apples (pound)





Russet potatoes (5 pounds)





Ground chuck (pound)





Sirloin tip roast (pound)





Sliced deli ham (pound)





Bacon (pound)





Boneless chicken breasts (pound)





Whole milk (gallon)





Shredded mild cheddar cheese (pound)





Grade A eggs (dozen)





All-purpose flour (5 pounds)





Orange juice (1/2 gallon)





Vegetable oil (quart)





American salad mix (pound)





Toasted oat cereal (8.9 ounce box)





White bread (20 ounce)





— Source: Arizona Farm Bureau Federation


Market basket of basic items: Difference % change
2014 1st qtr




2013 4th qtr




2013 3rd qtr




2013 2nd qtr




2013 1st qtr




2012 4th qtr




2012 3rd qtr




2012 2nd qtr




2012 1st qtr




2011 4th qtr




2011 3rd qtr




2011 2nd qtr




2011 1st qtr




2010 4th qtr




2010 3rd qtr




2010 2nd qtr




2010 1st qtr




2009 4th qtr




2009 3rd qtr




2009 2nd qtr




2009 1st qtr


(all figures in actual dollars at the time, not adjusted for inflation)
 Source: Arizona Farm Bureau Federation

One comment

  1. An average consumer might have read the article “Grocery costs up 5% in past year, led by beef price spike” and thought to themselves: “Well I guess I need to start purchasing less expensive cuts of beef.” But I offer another solution that your wallet, health, and environment will thank you for in the long run.

    Take this price increase as an opportunity to severely reduce or eliminate your beef intake. We all know about the health benefits of reducing your red meat consumption, but perhaps you don’t know that raising cows for meat production is extremely unsustainable. According to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, meat production in general contributes to more greenhouse gases than all of transportation combined. Maybe you’re still not sold. What if I told you that with every bite of grain fed beef you consume, you’re wasting precious resources. In order to produce just one pound of beef, we’re wasting 13 pounds of grain that could go towards feeding the world’s hungry population. Do some more research, get educated, and try something new out.

    And the reason for the spike in price is due to increased demand, so if after a while you find that a minimal beef diet isn’t for you, you’ve lessened the demand and beef prices could go down. Vote with your dollars.

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