Survey says: lunch is still affordable in California
» August 19, 2004 «
As schools return to session, many districts around the country have raised lunch prices to reflect rising costs of labor, transportation and other factors. Prices for assembling a brown bag lunch have also risen slightly, but a survey of California grocery stores shows that food remains an affordable part of back-to-school budgets.
A Farm Bureau retail-price survey finds that a healthy lunch of a turkey-and-cheese sandwich with lettuce on whole wheat bread, potato chips, baby carrots, grapes and an apple juice-box can be assembled at an estimated cost of $2.43.
"Affordable, safe, reliable food remains a hallmark of life in California," California Farm Bureau President Bill Pauli said. "Our state's residents benefit from access to a unique variety of locally grown foods."
Other common lunch-box items also remain affordable, such as a peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich at an estimated per serving cost of 67 cents, a serving of raisins at 31 cents, a fresh, juicy peach at 30 cents and a serving of 1 percent milk at 43 cents.
When compared with last year's survey, the 2004 survey showed that average prices of more than a third of the grocery items on the list had declined.
Raisins, peanut butter, apple juice boxes, broccoli, iceberg lettuce and red seedless grapes are less expensive this year, with broccoli and red seedless grapes showing the largest decline. Peach prices remained stable at an average of $1.32 per pound.
"Peach growers have struggled all year with very low on-farm prices for their fruit," Pauli said. "Prices at the retail level often have little relation to the prices farmers earn. The majority of a consumer's food dollar pays for marketing costs such as labor, packaging, transportation and other costs.
"Our surveys also show that food costs can vary significantly from store to store and community to community," he said.
Average prices for ground beef, butter and cheese increased, with cheese jumping an average of 51 cents per pound, according to the survey.
The quarterly Farm Bureau survey included 21 common grocery items with an average total of $52.22. Prices ranged from a low of $38.25 in Oakdale to a high of $57.69 in Salinas. A market basket containing the same items averaged $51.08 last year, a difference of 2 percent.
|Item||Average Price||Low Price||High Price|
|Ground beef, lb.||$ 2.73||$ 1.78||$ 3.99|
|Beef tri-tip, lb.||5.83||2.98||8.99|
|Whole fryers, lb.||1.43||.98||2.19|
|Turkey breast lunchmeat, sliced, 10 oz.||3.42||1.86||4.79|
|Milk, 1%, gallon||3.46||2.10||4.69|
|Cheese, mild cheddar, lb.||4.21||2.50||5.60|
|Whole wheat bread, 24 oz. loaf||2.44||1.29||3.79|
|Potato chips, 12 oz.||2.87||1.99||3.99|
|Raisins, 15 oz. box.||2.32||1.89||2.99|
|Stewed tomatoes, 14.5 oz. can||1.12||.59||1.49|
|Peanut butter, creamy, 18 oz. jar||2.45||1.50||2.99|
|Strawberry jam, 18 oz. jar||3.37||1.50||4.78|
|Apple juice boxes, 10 pack||3.71||2.50||4.99|
|Iceberg lettuce, ea.||.95||.33||1.99|
|Baby carrots, 1 lb.||1.49||.98||1.99|
|Grapes, red seedless, lb.||1.75||.99||2.49|
|Grapes, green seedless, lb.||1.75||.89||2.49|
|No. 2 pencils, 10 per pack||1.13||.33||2.68|
|TOTAL||$ 52.22||$ 38.25||$ 57.69|
Farm Bureau volunteers and staff members conducted the survey in their local supermarkets between Aug. 7 and Aug. 15. Supermarkets in 16 California counties were surveyed: Alameda, Butte, Fresno, Mendocino, Monterey, Orange, Nevada, Sacramento, San Mateo, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Stanislaus, Tulare, Ventura and Yolo.
Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.Top