Food Business
5:55 pm
Thu January 12, 2012

Missouri Food Prices Surpass National Average

If you've noticed your grocery bill has gotten higher lately, you're not imagining things. Food prices in Missouri rose in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the Missouri Farm Bureau's year-end Marketbasket survey.

The Bureau's director of promotion and education, Diane Olson, says on average, food prices rose two dollars and sixty-nine cents since September.

“When we dissect that, what we found was most of the differences were made up in two categories: one was at the meat counter, and the other was at the produce isle,” says Oldson.

Olson says Missouri's food prices typically fall below the national average, but are now almost three dollars higher. Nationwide, the American Farm Bureau survey showed food prices fell in the fourth quarter of last year but are still about five percent higher than they were at the end of 2010.

Pat Westhoff, director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri-Columbia, says Missouri's apparent fourth quarter spike in food prices is probably just an aberration. He says in Missouri and nationwide, food prices have been increasing - but not as much as they had been.

“We're still well above a year ago levels,” says Westhoff. “But most of that increase occurred earlier this year. We're slowing down the rate of increase in food prices, and most of us expect the overall food price inflation in 2012 will be far lower than it was in 2011.”