The American Farm Bureau also tracks food prices each quarter on the same 16 items nationally that represent a cross-section of agricultural products. Director of Promotion and Education for the Farm Bureau, Diane Olson, says that food prices continued to climb in supermarkets across Missouri, with an average of $52.01, more than national prices, which ended at $49.23. Typically, Missouri comes in under the national average.
Up from $49.32 in the third quarter, Missouri's average prices increased $2.69. In the fourth quarter of 2010, the items cost $47.87, revealing an increase of $4.14 year over year.
Since last quarter, 11 items increased in price, four decreased and one remained the same. About 44 percent of the increase could be accounted for at the meat counter, where five of the six items cost more while one remained the same.
The fruit and vegetable aisle accounted for another 38 percent of the quarter's increase. Three of the four items on the list--russet potatoes, salad mix and orange juice--cost more, while Red Delicious apples cost slightly less per pound.
No obvious patterns appeared in other groupings. Shredded cheddar cheese prices increased, while whole milk prices dropped. Flour prices decreased, while bread prices increased.
Energy costs remain a wild card in food prices. Keeping an eye on the price of fuel and the per-barrel price of oil provides some insight into fluctuations in food prices. Supply and demand continues to impact prices as recovery continues from summer weather events and foreign demand for American food increases.