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US: Chicken and eggs prices down

Retail food prices at the supermarket decreased slightly for the third consecutive quarter, according to the latest American Farm Bureau Federation Marketbasket Survey.

Boneless chicken breasts, eggs, sliced deli ham, whole milk and russet potatoes declined the most in price and together account for most of the decrease in average price of the overall marketbasket.

Chicken breasts dropped 28 cents to $3.10 per pound; eggs decreased 16 cents to $1.34 per dozen; sliced deli ham and whole milk dropped 14 cents to $4.80 per pound and $3.01 per gallon.

“The quarter-to-quarter price decline reported by our volunteer shoppers indicates that consumers are seeing some relief at the grocery store. Even more significant is that average retail prices for eggs, milk, chicken breasts and bacon for the second quarter of 2009 are significantly lower than one year ago,” said AFBF Economist Jim Sartwelle.

Overall, the average price for the marketbasket of foods declined $3.10 or about 6% over a year’s time. Retail egg prices dropped 26%, milk decreased 22%, chicken declined 19% and bacon was 11% lower compared to a year ago.

“The foods that declined the most in retail price are among the least-processed items in our marketbasket. When wholesale prices paid to producers for minimally processed foods such as these decrease drastically, as has been the case over the past few months, consumers typically benefit fairly quickly from retail price reductions in the grocer’s case,” Sartwelle said.

Egg trends

For the second quarter of 2009, the average price for one dozen regular eggs was $1.34. The average price for “cage-free” eggs was $3.00 per dozen, around 95% more per dozen than regular eggs.

Regular eggs and “cage-free” eggs dropped in retail price by 26% and 1.5%, respectively, between the second quarter of 2008 and the second quarter of 2009.

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American Farm Bureau

Natalie Berkhout

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