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The Arizona Farm Bureau's latest Market Basket Survey shows retail food prices in the state are down about 1 percent in the 1st quarter of 2012.

The total cost of 16 basic grocery items is down $0.60 from the 4th quarter of last year to $50.79.

The survey shows grocery prices in Arizona are 6 percent higher than they were a year ago. The national survey, also released this week, reflected a similar increase.

Kevin Rogers, president of the Arizona Farm Bureau, says the Market Basket Survey is a valuable tool for consumers to measure the money they spend on food.

Rogers says the bureau sends shoppers out to grocery stores four times a year to measure prices of 16 basic foods. And they ignore sales and discounts, buying everything at full price to get a more accurate measure of food prices over time.

From the latest Market Basket Survey:
In Arizona, off-the-shelf prices for sirloin roast showed the greatest decrease in price, down $0.98 to $4.85 a pound; bacon, down $0.62 to $4.23 a pound; milk, down $0.16 to $2.84 a gallon; shredded cheese, down $0.10 to $4.58 a pound; vegetable oil, down $0.09 to $2.51 for the 32 oz. bottle; eggs, down $0.08 to $1.99 a dozen; white bread, down a nickel to $1.75 a 20-oz. loaf; and toasted oat cereal down three pennies to $2.99 for the 8.9 oz. box.

Ground chuck showed the largest price increase, up 53 cents to $3.83 a pound. The other items that increased in price were flour, up $0.41 to $2.54 for the 5-pound bag; deli ham, up $0.35 to $5.11 a pound; boneless chicken breast, up $0.23 to $3.66 a pound; apples, up $0.11 to $ 1.44 a pound; salad mix, up $0.08 to $2.63 for the 1-pound bag; russet potatoes, up 4 pennies to $2.83 for the 5-pound bag, and orange juice, up $0.03 to $3.01 a half gallon.

More resources: Kevin Rogers talks more about the bureau's Market Basket Surveys, and their importance to food consumers and producers alike:

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