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MADISON – According to the latest Wisconsin­ Farm Bureau Marketbasket, an informal survey, the total cost of 14 food items that can be used to host a summer picnic for 10 people is up slightly with a total of $54.63. This is an increase of 33 cents from the same survey conducted in June 2017.

"Overall, food prices are extremely stable,” Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s spokesperson Amy Eckelberg said. “You’ll find plenty of affordable food options at your grocery store including meat and milk.”

The survey’s menu consists of hot dogs and buns, cheeseburgers and buns, ketchup and mustard, pork spare ribs, deli potato salad, baked beans, corn chips, lemonade, chocolate milk and watermelon for dessert. Of the 14 food items surveyed by Farm Bureau members, seven items decreased in price compared with last summer.

Items that saw the largest price percentage decrease during the last year were ground round and chocolate milk.

• Ground round decreased 72 cents (7.8 percent)

• Chocolate milk decreased 34 cents (14.3 percent)

“These two items coming in lower in this survey did not come as a surprise,” Eckelberg said. “We have seen low farm income prices in recent years and those are now being passed to our shoppers.”

Items that saw the biggest increase in price were watermelon and pork spare ribs.

• Watermelon increased 88 cents (27.8 percent)

• Ketchup increased 22 cents (15.2 percent)

“Despite an overall increase of this summer’s Marketbasket survey, the cost per person for this picnic is still less than $5.50 per person,” Eckelberg added.

Wisconsin prices lower than national

Wisconsin’s $54.63 survey price is $0.44 less than American Farm Bureau Federation’s national survey of the same 14 food items. AFBF’s survey came in at $55.07.

Related: Enjoy that July 4th cookout - grilling is more affordable this year

Six of the 14 items surveyed in Wisconsin were higher than the national average: ground round, hot dogs, pork spare ribs, American cheese slices, corn chips and chocolate milk. 

State average retail prices from the WFBF July Fourth Cookout survey:

Ground round (2 pounds) - $8.48; Package of hamburger buns - $1.43; Mixed meat hot dogs (1 pound package) - $2.62; Package of hot dog buns - $1.42; American cheese slices, 16 (1 pound package) - $2.91; Pork spare ribs, 4 pounds - $12.12; Deli potato salad, 3 pounds - $9.12; Baked beans, 28-ounce can - $1.82; Corn chips, 15-ounce bag - $3.69; Lemonade (pre-mixed), 2 quarts - $2.13; Chocolate milk (pre-mixed), 2 quarts - $2.04; Watermelon, 4 pounds - $4.04; Ketchup, 20-ounce bottle - $1.67; Mustard, 16-ounce bottle - $1.14.

Farmers share about 15 percent

During the last three decades, retail grocery prices have gradually increased while the share of the average dollar spent on food that farm families receive has dropped. In the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures in grocery stores and restaurants.

Since then, that figure has decreased steadily and is now about 14.8 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Using that percentage across the board, the farmers’ share of this quarter’s $54.63 grocery bill would be approximately $8.08.

The USDA says Americans will spend approximately 10 percent of their disposable annual income on food, the lowest average in the world.

The July Cookout Survey is part of Farm Bureau’s Marketbasket series, which also includes an annual Thanksgiving dinner cost survey and two ‘everyday’ Marketbasket surveys, one in the spring and one in the fall, on common food staples that can be used to prepare one or two meals.

Members of Wisconsin Farm Bureau collected price samples of 14 basic food items in 31 communities across Wisconsin in June.

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