Gilbert, AZ (PressExposure) March 09, 2011 -- Arizona families can read about stretching their "food dollar" on the organization's web site Fill Your Plate
In the midst of an estimated 3% to 5% increase in food prices across the board, Arizona Farm Bureau begins a series of informational articles for Arizona families about food prices.
"To help our Arizona families with their food budgets, we're running a series of articles about food prices and how to stretch your food dollar," says Julie Murphree, spokesperson for the Arizona Farm Bureau. "Even before we do this year's first food price survey, we're feeling the increase in prices at the grocery store and farmers' markets."
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), food prices are estimated to rise anywhere from 3% to 5% while some regions of the country might experience even sharper increases. But there are strategies for families to still keep their food budgets at manageable expense levels.
"The most important thing I've learned is to stick to the basics," says Sharla Mortimer, chair of the Women's Leadership Committee for Arizona Farm Bureau and a rancher with her husband, Gary, in Yavapai County. "Your dairy, eggs, various lean cuts of meat and other basic staples should be core items in your shopping cart. Don't splurge on the nonessentials like pop and other unhealthy items."
Arizona Farm Bureau's information series on food prices can be found on its web site fillyourplate.org. On the home page of Fill Your Plate look for the section on the bottom of the page called "Latest Food Price Trends."
"We plan to run the series for several weeks and will include articles that provide specific strategies for stretching your food dollar," explains Murphree. "We're drawing advice from economists, our Arizona farmers and ranchers and other informed sources including our own quarterly grocery marketbasket survey we do to determine food items that are up or down in price."
Adds Mortimer, "For a quick tip, always plan your menu before you shop and focus on healthy eating. Fruits and vegetables - along with whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, beans, eggs and nuts - are an important part of a healthy diet. Buying fresh produce when it's in season costs less, while buying frozen fruits and vegetables when they're not in season also is a smart way to stretch that dollar."