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7:48 AM Wed, Sept. 19th

Relief down the aisles: prices at the grocery store drop average of 2.5%

(Courier, file photo)

(Courier, file photo)

Market basket of 16 selected basic items:

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

2015 4th qtr $51.15

2015 3rd qtr $54.57

2015 2nd qtr $50.88

2015 1st qtr $50.29

2014 4th qtr $53.02

2014 3rd qtr $50.88

2014 2nd qtr $52.64

2014 1st qtr $52.40

2013 4th qtr $51.62

2013 3rd qtr $50.87

2013 2nd qtr $47.97

2013 1st qtr $49.75

2012 4th qtr $50.54

2012 3rd qtr $49.25

2012 2nd qtr $51.19

2012 1st qtr $50.79

2011 4th qtr $51.39

2011 3rd qtr $50.71

2011 2nd qtr $51.31

2011 1st qtr $47.85

2010 4th qtr $45.44

2010 3rd qtr $46.48

2010 2nd qtr $48.84

2010 1st qtr $45.96

2009 4th qtr $45.89

2009 3rd qtr $46.02

2009 2nd qtr $50.89

2009 1st qtr $54.43

PHOENIX — Arizona shoppers can expect to find a bit of relief at the grocery store.

New figures this week from the Arizona Farm Bureau Federation show that the current overall price of the 16 items in a typical “market basket” has dropped about 2.5 percent since the first quarter of the year. Most of the changes were minor, with the biggest drop coming in the cost of orange juice.

But prices, which tend to fluctuate through the year, still are a bit higher than the same period a year earlier.

The most expensive item in the basket remains sirloin tip roast, which Farm Bureau shoppers who went to stores around the state reporting an average cost of $7.39 a pound.

More significant, that appears to be the new normal for this choice cut of beef. It’s the same price shoppers found three months ago.

By contrast it was selling for 63 cents a pound less a year ago. And prices had been in the sub-$6 range before that.

Boneless chicken breasts are a bit dearer now than earlier in the year, but still somewhat below what grocers were asking last year at this time. But it looks like the cost of bacon is on the decline, dropping 22 cents a pound from last quarter and 35 cents in the past year.

The other half of breakfast, however, will eat up the savings, with the price of a dozen eggs now 45 cents higher than in 2017.

Farm Bureau shoppers base their findings on whatever sale prices are being offered at the time.

What they do not take into account, however, are specials that are offered to those who hold a grocery chain’s “affinity card,” providing additional discounts at the register. And regular grocery store customers also can save by clipping coupons from newspapers.

ITEM / SECOND QUARTER / FIRST QUARTER / YEAR AGO

Red delicious apples (pound) / $1.25 / $1.25 / $1.59

Russet potatoes (5 pounds) / $2.24 / $2.30 / $2.39

Ground chuck (pound) / $2.97 / $3.45 / $2.86

Sirloin tip roast (pound) / $7.39 / $7.39 / $6.76

Sliced deli ham (pound) / $3.49 / $3.81 / $3.61

Bacon (pound) / $4.39 / $4.51 / $4.74

Boneless chicken breasts (pound) / $3.10 / $2.95 / $3.21

Whole milk (gallon) / $1.99 / $2.15 / $1.96

Shredded mild cheddar cheese (pound) / $4.56 / $4.70 / $4.49

Grade A eggs (dozen) / $1.88 / $1.69 / $1.43

All-purpose flour (5 pounds) / $1.82 / $1.83 / $1.98

Orange juice (1/2 gallon) / $2.79 / $3.13 / $2.62

Vegetable oil (quart) / $1.71 / $1.59 / $1.82

American salad mix (pound) / $2.73 / $2.68 / $2.79

Toasted oat cereal (8.9 ounce box) / $3.29 / $3.57 / $2.50

White bread (20 ounce) / $1.30 / $1.14 / $1.31

Source: Arizona Farm Bureau Federation