By Julie Tomascik

What goes up must come down. Even if it takes a while.

That’s the case with Texas food prices, which dropped slightly in the third quarter.

Lean ground beef led the decrease at the meat counter, according to Texas Farm Bureau’s Grocery Price Watch survey. The protein fell to $4.30 per pound from $4.59 last quarter.

A dip of 29 cents may not seem like much. But add it to cheaper prices for boneless chicken breasts, which rang in at $3.42 per pound, and pork chops, down to $4.18 from $4.35, and you have a formula that benefits us shoppers at the grocery store.

Why the decrease?

Cheaper inputs. Supply and demand. And competition.

But how exactly do those factor into your total grocery bill?

Fuel prices are less expensive, and large grain harvests make livestock feed cheaper.

Demand for grocery items stays steady year after year, while the supply fluctuates. Leading to price changes.

And when the price of one protein falls, the others follow. It’s the rule of competition in the marketplace. If beef is cheaper, chicken and pork prices are sure to drop.

Although many food items cost less this quarter, a few did the opposite.

Grapefruit, lettuce, milk and vanilla cake mix slightly increased. But not enough to push the total price for the 16-item basket up over last quarter costs.

They’re just another part in the grocery bill equation.

A roller coaster. A conversation we love to hate. But food prices are an important part of our budget, our economy and agriculture.

Check out the full survey results below, or read Texas Farm Bureau’s news release with additional information.