Food Prices Drop in Arizona

Oct 17, 2012

Got a freezer? It might be a good time to stock up on meat.

The latest survey of food prices in Arizona has the cost of a market basket of 16 typical items down $1.94 from the same period three months earlier. One of the big reasons for the decline is a sharp drop in the price of pork. Julie Murphree of the Arizona Farm Bureau Federation said that's directly related to high feed prices paid by pork producers.

"They actually were moving their inventory, so to speak, moving their swine to market, in other words, slaughter, because the corn prices were high and it's one of the ways they can manage," Murphree said. "So they may have moved those herds a little faster than normal. And a lot of that has to do with the drought."

Put simply, more supply drives down prices. Now beef is a different issue. Murphree said ranchers are not selling off cattle faster. But what they are doing is not buying as many feeder calves as normal to keep their herds small and feeding costs low. And that in turn will mean smaller supplies of beef NEXT year. In both cases, she said, it's a good time to buy meat.

"You might not have to fill the whole freezer up. But it wouldn't hurt," she said.

The new report also shows lower prices for milk and cheese, with apples and orange juice being a bit more expensive.