Retail poultry prices have increased faster than other proteins over the past year, having climbed 4.2 percent from their April 2012 levels. Chicken prices moved up 4.4 percent, while other poultry prices -- including turkey -- increased 3.4 percent. Poultry prices in April increased 0.7 percent from the previous month.

"Consumers over the last six months or so, and maybe a little longer, have been beginning to switch from the perennially expensive beef and even pork, on to poultry," said USDA economist Ricky Volpe said during a recent USDA broadcast, indicating that higher demand translates into higher prices.

In contrast, beef prices were down 0.5 percent in April and are 1.8 percent above last April, with steak prices down 0.2 percent and ground beef prices up 2.7 percent, according to the USDA's Food Price Outlook, released on May 28. Pork prices decreased 0.6 percent in April and are 1.6 percent below last April's level. A decline in exports and increased hog production has resulted in retail pork prices for the first 4 months of 2013 that are well below those of 2012. Overall, the drought has not had a substantial effect on pork prices.


Fish and seafood prices were up 3 percent from March to April and are 2.3 percent above the April 2012 level.

Egg prices rose 1 percent in April and are now 3.1 percent above the April 2012 level. Egg prices are expected to fully reflect the impact of higher feed corn prices sooner than many other food products but are also subject to strong seasonal swings in pricing.