Indiana fall family meals averaging 12 percent less than national average

Molly Zentz

– September 27, 2017 – According to an annual, informal survey by Indiana Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau Federation, Hoosiers are benefitting from consistently lower food prices than the national average this fall. The survey shows the total cost of 16 food items, which can be used to prepare a traditional group meal, totaling $51.13 nationally and only $44.85 in Indiana – a difference of roughly 12 percent.

The overall meal price is relatively unchanged when compared to Indiana’s fall 2016 prices. This time last year, INFB found the average meal to cost $44.54, a difference of only $0.31, or one percent lower than this year’s total.   

The INFB fall market basket survey was conducted by 20 volunteer shoppers all across the state who collected prices on specific food items from one of their local grocery stores. The shopping list included eggs, shredded cheddar cheese, bagged salad, boneless chicken breast, sirloin tip roast, bacon, ground chuck, russet potatoes, oat cereal, sliced deli ham, white bread, whole milk, orange juice, apples, flour and vegetable oil.

“This will be welcome news for shoppers looking for affordable food to feed their families,” said Isabella Chism, INFB second vice president and chair of the Women’s Leadership Committee, which is in charge of the market basket survey program. “These prices are a clear reminder that we have a very affordable food supply in America and particularly in Indiana.”

When comparing this year’s prices to 2016 prices, there were notable shifts in the price of sliced deli ham (down 13 percent), boneless chicken breast (up 12 percent) and eggs (up 14 percent). The price of apples, russet potatoes, sirloin tip roast, bacon, flour and white bread also saw small shifts in price and the remaining items remained relatively flat.

Fall food items (INFB survey)



% Change

Red delicious apples




Russet potatoes (5 lbs.)




Bagged salad (1 lb.)




Orange juice (1/2 gallon)




Ground chuck (1 lb.)




Sirloin tip roast (1 lb.)




Bacon (1 lb.)




Sliced deli ham (1 lb.)




Boneless chicken breast (1 lb.)




Whole milk (1 gallon)




Shredded mild cheddar cheese (1 lb.)




Grade A Eggs (1 doz.)




All-purpose flour (5 lbs.)




Vegetable oil (32 oz.)




Oat cereal (8-9 oz. box)




White bread (20 oz. loaf)









Supply and demand for chicken breasts is tight, which is why retail prices are higher,” said Dr. John Newton, AFBF’s director of market intelligence. 

Price checks of alternative milk choices in Indiana not included in the overall market basket survey average revealed the following: 1/2 gallon regular milk, $2.03 and 1/2 gallon organic milk, $4.08.

AFBF’s national survey showed a few significant trends that weren’t as evident in Indiana, but meaningful when compared nationwide.

“Bacon was up significantly because of the lower inventory and higher prices of pork bellies. We saw a rally in wholesale bacon prices this summer and fall which is being reflected at the retail level,” Newton said of the national trends. “Bacon is a sexy food item in restaurants and everywhere else, creating an inventory decline and thus a price increase.”

In addition, Newton said the price increase for orange juice is related to the lower supply of oranges, in part due to citrus greening disease, and the supply could worsen due to the impact of Hurricane Irma.

For many food items, the year-to-year direction of the market basket survey tracks with the federal government’s Consumer Price Index report for food at home. As retail grocery prices have increased gradually over time, the share of the average food dollar that America’s farm and ranch families receive has dropped.

“We can expect prices to rise and fall over time, but it’s important to remember that the farmer’s share of our food dollar remains quite low,” said Chism. “Using the ‘food at home and away from home’ percentage, the farmer’s share of this $44.85 market basket would be roughly $7. The remaining goes to the other parts of the food industry.”

The fall survey is part of the Farm Bureau market basket series, which includes the annual Thanksgiving dinner cost survey and two additional surveys that collect information on food staples that Americans commonly use to prepare meals at home. AFBF published its first market basket survey in 1986.


About Indiana Farm Bureau: Since 1919, Indiana Farm Bureau (INFB) has protected the livelihood, land, equipment, animals and crops of Hoosier farmers. It is the state’s largest general farm organization and a farmer’s strongest advocate. INFB works diligently to ensure a farmer’s very right to farm, because agriculture is so vital to Indiana’s economy.  Learn more at