Breakfast is getting more expensive.

A lot more expensive.

And if you’re looking for a reason, think about bacon donuts, maple bacon ice cream and, of course, the popular Sonoran hot dog.

All that is leading to more demand, with the result being higher pork prices.

In the last year, the Arizona Farm Bureau Federation reports that the average price being charged at grocery stores has shot up $2.34 a pound. And most of that has been in the last quarter.

The “why” behind that is a bit more confusing.

On one hand, the trade wars with China have resulted that country canceling orders of U.S.-produced pork products, according to the Farm Bureau’s Julie Murphree. That has resulted in China getting more of their pork from places like Brazil and Canada.

Theoretically, that should leave more bacon for domestic consumption.

But Murphree said the fact remains that this is still a global market. And with China importing more because of the swine flu in that country, that has increased worldwide demand — to say nothing about Americans wanting bacon on just about everything.

“It’s kind of like the tide that lift all boats,” Murphree said.

Prices follow suit.

The latest price check by the Farm Bureau also found a sharp spike in the price of ground chuck over both the last quarter and a year ago.

But shoppers interested in sirloin tip roast, by contrast, will find relative bargains.

A pound of that meat was selling a year ago for $7.39 a pound. Farm Bureau shoppers were able to find it at $5.05 a pound this past quarter.

So what gives? Isn’t beef, well, beef?

Yes — and no.

Murphree said the prices reflect local demand. And what the latest numbers show, she said, is a stronger demand for ground beef.

She said it could be a summer thing.

“When you think about family barbecues around the Fourth of July, we’re feeding a lot of little mouths,” Murphree said. And she said they’re going to want hamburgers.

Some other elements in the typical market basket of 16 items shopped by the Farm Bureau also resulted in the increase in overall cost compared to last quarter and last year.

One of those is another breakfast item: orange juice. The price of a half gallon is more than a dollar higher than just three months ago.

Murphree said Florida growers are suffering from a “greening disease” in their orchards that has affected production and even resulted in the loss of trees.

“If we can’t get a handle on that, we may be having to drink apple juice for breakfast,” she said.

Egg prices also are on the increase, though nowhere near at the rate of some other commodities.

And then there’s the white bread for toast.

Murphree said her shoppers found the typical cost of a 20-ounce loaf at Arizona stores was $2.81, double what it was just three months ago.

“That one kind of stumped me, also,” she said.

One complicating factor in figuring out why, Murphree said, is that this highly processed product passes through a lot of hands, from the farmer all the way to the grocery store shelves, meaning anyone along the line could be boosting costs.

She stressed that savvy shoppers can end up paying a heck of a lot less, not only by using coupons but also by taking advantage of the “affinity cards” offered by most grocery chains that give special discounts to members.

Market basket of 16 items:

2019 2nd qtr — $52.59

2019 1st qtr — $48.30

2018 4th qtr — $46.22

2018 3rd qtr — $46.13

2018 2nd qtr — $46.90

2018 1st qtr — $48.14

2017 4th qtr — $45.25

2017 3rd qtr — $48.50

2017 2nd qtr — $46.06

2017 1st qtr — $49.16

2016 4th qtr — $47.07

2016 3rd qtr — $48.72

2016 2nd qtr — $49.26

2016 1st qtr — $51.20

(all figures in actual dollars at the time, not adjusted for inflation)

Source: Arizona Farm Bureau Federation

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(1) comment

Phil Mason

Actually, once again, this article demonstrates the media is out of touch with the public in areas other than the political arena. If the price of pork bellies has gone up and the price of beef products has gone down, savvy consumers modify their basket. This is no different than any other area of the economy. Making a flat statement that inflation is up by merely focusing on those segments that have increased in price while ignoring those segments that have decreased is nonsensical. Of course, if you are a journalist based at 1700 West Washington street in Phoenix and the legislature is out of session, you need to write something to keep up personal revenue even if it is something that you do not understand. I bought eggs at 77 cents per dozen, ground beef at $1.97 a pound, one pound of hot dogs for less than a dollar, T-Bone steaks for $3.99 a pound, and 18 donuts for less than $4.00. Obviously, this takes some research and planning - something the media has forgotten - with Bashas, Safeway, and Wal-Mart all being within a few hundred yards of each other, the savvy shopper can REDUCE their cost of buying groceries. Sorry, Howie, another strike.

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