February 01, 2012 06:00 ET

January Food Prices Dip Slightly vs. December, but Show 5% Increase vs. Year Ago

SOLON, OH--(Marketwire - Feb 1, 2012) - Featured grocery prices declined slightly in January after peaking in December, according to ECRM's monthly report on promoted prices gathered from the weekly circulars of over 200 retailers. For a typical shopping basket of 33 frequently-purchased products, promoted prices dipped 0.8% vs. December, 2011, but increased by 5.0% compared with January, 2011.

While promoted pricing for meat, poultry, and seafood led declines from December highs, protein prices in January remain higher than a year ago. January promoted prices for dairy and carbonated beverages increased after leveling off in December. As in 2011, promoted grocery prices tend to decline in January before rising again in February. This is driven, in part, by retailers offering their most aggressive prices at the start of the year, as shoppers make resolutions to change their eating behavior.

For most products, promoted prices show a strong correlation with the U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI). ECRM's pricing report includes forecasts for January CPI pricing across several products.

Select January CPI Forecasts Based on Promoted Retail Prices:

Dec-2011 Jan-2012
Product Tracked By CPI CPI Price ECRM Forecast
Ground chuck, 100% beef, per lb. $3.27 $3.20 ($0.07)
Bacon, sliced, per lb. $4.55 $4.48 ($0.07)
Milk, fresh, whole, fortified, per gal. $3.57 $3.88 +$0.31
Grapes, Thompson Seedless, per lb. $2.86 $2.74 ($0.12)
Cheddar cheese, natural, per lb. $5.43 $5.53 +$0.10

January CPI prices will be released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics later in February.

Measuring promoted pricing allows researchers to get a better understanding of what promoted prices are for frequently-purchased products. According to ECRM's Scott Whalley, "We are processing over 5 million retail feature ad blocks every week. This gives us great insight into actual prices consumers are paying across the country." Unlike other pricing metrics, promoted prices are reported by ECRM on the same day retailers post their weekly features.

The report shows that for January, smaller grocers tend to have the most competitive pricing, beating the larger, national chains. For a shopping basket of 33 frequently-purchased products, Northgate Market, Vallarta Supermarkets, and Fiesta Mart feature the lowest prices overall.

In January, many of the biggest supermarket chains featured price points higher than the national average. Some exceptions include Kroger, Meijer, and Giant Eagle where aggressive feature prices in January indexed lower than many of the larger chains.

To view or download a copy of this free report, click here:

Promoted pricing is reported for over 200 of the top U.S. & Canadian retailers across channels. Most reported prices represent 13 months ending 1/31/2012. For more information on ECRM's Ad Comparisons solutions, contact Scott Whalley at 847-482-1793 or For additional reports on retailer promotions, visit

About ECRM:
ECRM® is a global leader in retailer promotional data syndication and analysis. ECRM® provides business solutions by integrating process, vision and technology. ECRM has revolutionized the sales and marketing process by uniting retailers and suppliers of the consumer packaged goods industry at Efficient Program Planning Sessions, or EPPS® events.

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