Arizona retail food prices at the supermarket are up in the third quarter of 2013, according to the latest Arizona Farm Bureau Federation Marketbasket Survey. The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 basic grocery items was $50.87, up $2.90 or about 6% more than the second quarter of 2013. Comparatively, the American Farm Bureau Federation's national survey was $53.20, up $1.66 or about 3% higher than their March semi-annual survey.

Compared to this time last year, the 2013 third quarter Marketbasket survey shows that Arizona's food prices have increased about 3.5 percent.

"Everyone is looking to save money." says Julie Murphree, Communications Director for the Arizona Farm Bureau. "I'd encourage Arizona families to keep hunting for those bargains in our basics like your meats, fruits, vegetables, diary and eggs to stretch your food dollars."

Of the 16 items surveyed in Arizona, seven decreased and eight increased compared to the 2013 second quarter survey.

"Stronger demand on the consumer side helped push retail prices higher for some items such as chicken breasts, bacon and shredded cheese," said John Anderson, American Farm Bureau's deputy chief economist. "Meat and dairy items will likely be the main driving force behind expected retail food price increase in the coming year."

In Arizona, off-the-shelf prices for milk showed the greatest decrease in price down 62 cents to $2.45 a gallon; sirloin roast down 54 cents to $5.15 a pound; ground chuck down 38 cents to $3.14 a pound; orange juice down 37 cents to $2.89 a half gallon; apples down 26 cents to $1.27 a pound; flour down 25 cents to $2.10 a 5-pound bag; toasted oat cereal down 15 cents to $3.00 a 8.9 oz box.

"As we prepare for the holiday season, remember Arizona Farm Bureau's has searchable recipes, many featuring holiday recipes from our generational Arizona farm families," said Murphree. "Eating at home as a family can help you manage your food budget better."

To access an entire menu focused on those food items down in price in the first quarter and designed around stretching your food dollar, go to Look for the latest "Stretch Your Food Dollar" menu and the additional food savings tips.

Boneless chicken breast showed the largest price increase up $2.10 to $4.65 a pound. The other items that increased in price were potatoes up $1.37 to $3.69 a 5-pound bag; sliced deli ham up 70 cents to $4.39 a pound; bacon up 42 cents to $4.49 a pound; shredded cheese up 41 cents to $4.79 a pound; vegetable oil up 33 cents to $2.82 for the 32 oz bottle; eggs up 10 cents to $1.96 a dozen and American salad mix up 4 cents to $2.89 a pound bag.

White bread remained the same in the third quarter at $1.19 for the 20-oz loaf.

The year-to-year direction of the Marketbasket survey tracks with the federal government's Consumer Price Index report for food at home.

"In the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures for food eaten at home and away from home, on average. That figure has decreased steadily and is now just 16 percent, according to the United States Department of Agriculture's revised Food Dollar Series Department statistics," explains John Anderson, American Farm Bureau Economist. The USDA's new Food Dollar Series may be found online at

Using the "food at home and away from home" percentage across-the-board, the Arizona farmer's share of this quarter's $51.47 Marketbasket total would be $8.24.

The Farm Bureau Market Basket Survey is unscientific, but serves as a gauge of actual price trends across the state. Arizona's bargain shoppers statewide should find individual items at prices comparable to the Farm Bureau survey averages and certainly cheaper with discounts and in-store specials. Arizona Farm Bureau seeks to identify the best in-store price, excluding promotional coupons and special deals.

The importance of improving farm practices is not lost on Arizona Farm Bureau members. "To feed the majority of Americans, crop and livestock agriculture must continually become more efficient, and in many cases, larger to spread energy and labor costs across more acres to help stabilize prices at the grocery store," said John Boelts, vegetable farmer from Yuma, Arizona. Boelts, who said the cost for just one refueling of one large tillage tractor can be more than $600, explained that labor and energy are the two largest farm operating costs that must be controlled.