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Business, Economy and Consumer Affairs

Grocery Prices Begin Recovery From Avian Flu Spike

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Open Grid Scheduler
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https://www.flickr.com/photos/opengridscheduler/23814128096

 

 

After nearly two years of increases and a historic spike last fall, grocery prices have started to drop in Indiana.

 

That's according to the Farm Bureau's latest spring survey, which has looked at the price of a basic basket of groceries in spring and fall for nearly 30 years.

 

The survey adds up the average cost of a "market basket" of 16 items, including milk, eggs, meat and produce. This spring, that basket totals $52.61.

It's twice as high as in the 1990s, but it marks a drop from September, when the cost was around $53.32. Farm Bureau spokeswoman Kathleen Dutro says that was mainly due to egg prices, after avian flu wiped out poultry flocks across the Midwest.

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Credit Indiana Farm Bureau
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Grocery prices in Indiana appear to be falling after avian flu drove average costs to a record high in late 2015.

    

"Fewer hens means fewer eggs," Dutro says, "which causes a really major increase in the price of eggs."

But she says the worst flu impacts are probably over. Indiana's spring survey shows an 82-cent drop in egg prices. Beef, potatoes and bagged salad were also cheaper. Items like bacon, milk and apples got a little more costly -- but Dutro says it's tough to say if all those trends will last.

"There's a lot more volatility in grocery prices than there used to be," she says.

 

That's due in part to the rising demand for processed foods, from boneless meats to pre-cooked meals.

 

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