Price of groceries rising in Arizona - East Valley Tribune: Arizona

Price of groceries rising in Arizona

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Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 5:08 pm | Updated: 12:19 pm, Tue Jul 2, 2013.

There's no one item to blame it on. But Arizonans are paying slightly more to put dinner on the table now than they were three months earlier - and a lot more than the same time last year.

New figures Wednesday from the Arizona Farm Bureau Federation put the cost of a typical grocery basket of 16 selected items purchased in the last quarter of 2011 at $51.39. The same items cost $50.71 in the third quarter of the year.

And a shopper could have gotten out the door a year earlier for $45.44.

"I do think our numbers are reflective of what has been going on in 2011, which is this steady increase in food inflation," said the federation's Julie Murphree. But she predicted that the sharp year-over-year spike won't be repeated this year.

Murphree said energy costs continue to be the big driver. She said that includes everything from powering the tractor to planting seeds to fueling up the trucks that drive the items from the farm to the distributors and, ultimately, from the distributors to the grocery stores.

But Murphree said other factors also affect price.

She said ranchers in Arizona and elsewhere have trimmed the size of their herds. That generally with force beef prices higher.

"You and I are going to feel it in 2012 in our pocketbook," Murphree said.

Then there are financial shoes yet to drop.

The prices in the survey for orange juice, for example, reflect what shoppers paid at the end of last year.

Since then, the price of orange juice futures has spiked, driven in part by a damaging freeze in Florida and in part by the possibility that oranges from Brazil may be banned from import because tests are showing levels of a fungicide banned in this country.

Murphree said Arizona does produce some oranges of its own. But she said that won't be enough to protect shoppers from higher juice prices later this year.

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.

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