World Food Price Index: As July turns to August, ground beef goes global

How much does ground beef cost in your supermarket? In my local Safeway, it's $3.49 a pound, but at the specialty market where I shop to get beef that was raised by local farmers and grass-fed, it's $3.99 a pound; a fair price, I think, though my grocery budget is seriously straining my family's finances. In Little Rock, Arkansas, where a few of my blogging mama friends shop, ground beef is only $3.10 per pound, and the sample grocery basket of 20 items we created at WalletPop costs only $39.72; it's $63.85 in Portland, Oregon, where I live.

But what about my friends in Adelaide, Australia? London, England? Brussels, Belgium? In Adelaide, Jessica shopped at Coles and found that "4 Star Choice" (lean but not extra lean) was AUD6.54 per 500g -- or $5.75 per pound. In London, Catherine shopped at Waitrose and found ground beef priced at £4.99 per 500g -- a whopping $9.03 per pound, the second most expensive of all the cities where we shopped (the priciest was Paris, where ground beef is $11.03 per pound). In Brussels, Gaby reported ground beef to be €2.25 per pound ("carbonnade" cut at cheap butcher's shop) or €4.45 per pound ("steak tatare cut" at normal or quality butcher's shop) -- $3.54 per pound, nearly the same as here in Portland.

After all my research, I've discovered that we have it pretty good here in the U.S., especially in the southern states, where prices are far cheaper than here in the Pacific Northwest (I never would have guessed). Los Angeles came out the most expensive of the U.S. cities surveyed, while world cities in Europe and South Africa were the most expensive overall. Paris topped the list at about $105 for our WalletPop grocery basket.

The cheapest? Brazil, where a food basket cost about $34.50, roughly half the world average of $68.
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