Retail prices for staple foods have fallen for the fifth quarter in a row and are significantly lower than one year ago, according to the latest American Farm Bureau Federation Marketbasket Survey.

In fourth quarter of 2009, the average price for boneless chicken breasts fell $0.37 to $2.71 per pound, or 22%, from the previous quarter.  The price of sliced deli ham fell $0.40 to $4.35 per pound and the price of bacon fell $0.37 to $3.00 per pound.  Egg prices rose 11 cents to $1.55 per dozen, but were 13% lower than they were a year ago.

Stefphanie Gambrell, an economist with the federation, said that “sluggish consumer demand, particularly for meats and dairy products,” contributed to the decrease in prices.

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Survey shoppers found that the average price for “cage-free” eggs was $2.77 per dozen in the fourth quarter of 2009, about 80% higher than the price of regular eggs. That price is 9% lower than the price for “cage-free” eggs reported in the fourth quarter of 2008.

The American Farm Bureau Federation has conducted its informal quarterly marketbasket survey of retail food price trends since 1989.