Arizona, March 22, 2016 - Arizona retail food prices at the supermarket were down in the first quarter of 2016, according to the latest Arizona Farm Bureau Federation Marketbasket Survey. The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 basic grocery items was $51.20, down 5 cents less than the fourth quarter of 2015.

Compared to Arizona's March 2015 survey total of $50.29, the 2016 first quarter Marketbasket survey shows that Arizona's food prices have increased just under 2 percent year-to-year. Comparatively, the American Farm Bureau Federation's national survey was $53.28, down 59 cents or about 1% less than the survey conducted a year ago, in March 2015.

"We're getting a pretty good gauge of what prices may do in 2016," said Arizona Farm Bureau's Communication Director, Julie Murphree. "We continue to encourage Arizona families to keep hunting for those bargains in our basics like your meats, fruits, vegetables, dairy and eggs to stretch your food dollars. Overall, dairy and meats were down."

Of the 16 items surveyed in Arizona, nine decreased, seven increased compared to the 2015 fourth quarter survey.

In Arizona, off-the-shelf prices for boneless chicken breast showed the greatest decrease in price down 46 cents to $3.19 a pound; ground chuck down 40 cents to $3.12 a pound; toasted oat cereal down 33 cents to $2.61 for the 8.9 oz box; salad mix down 29 cents to $2.69 a 1-pound bag; bacon down 22 cents to $4.67 a pound; orange juice down 20 cents to $2.86 a half-gallon; milk down 16 cents to $2.25 a gallon; eggs down 12 cents to $2.95 a dozen and flour down 1 cent to $1.96 a 5-pound bag.

"Remember Arizona Farm Bureau's has searchable recipes, many featuring recipes from our generational Arizona farm families," said Murphree. "And, we've updated the website to be mobile friendly. So, if you're traveling around the state and want to hunt for a local weekend farmer's market, go to using your smartphone or tablet."

Apples showed the largest price increase up 66 cents to $1.85 a pound. The other items that increased in price were shredded cheese up 48 cents to $5.28 a pound; deli ham up 40 cents to $3.99 a pound; potatoes up 34 cents to $ 2.65 a 5-pound bag; vegetable oil up 19 cents to $2.27 a 32-oz bottle; sirloin up 15 cents to $7.64 a pound and white bread up 2 cents to $1.22 a 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.

Using the "food at home and away from home" percentage across-the-board, the Arizona farmer's share of this quarter's $51.20 Marketbasket total would be $8.19.

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.