FOOD PRICES EDGE HIGHER AS SHOPPERS SPEND MORE ON BEEF
Montgomery Alabama food prices edged higher as seasonal increases for vegetables helped offset savings on poultry and dairy products. According to the Alabama Farmers Federation's September food price survey, the cost of 20 basic market basket items averaged $37.17, up 27 cents or seven-tenths of 1 percent from last month and up $1.83 or 5 percent from a year ago.
Shoppers this month noticed the biggest price increases on the produce aisle. There, lettuce was $1.14 a head, up 19 cents from August. Tomatoes also were slightly higher at $1.06 a pound, but sweet potatoes were a bargain at 76 cents a pound, down 11 cents.
At the meat counter, strong consumer demand for beef pushed prices higher for the third straight month. T-bone steaks led beef prices at $6.40 a pound, up 22 cents. Prices for roasts also remained strong, but shoppers found good buys on ground beef at $1.39 a pound, down 10 cents. Overall, beef prices were up 1 percent from a month ago. Meanwhile, pork prices climbed 1.3 percent thanks to a 16-cent-per-pound increase in the price of pork chops. Bacon also was higher at $2.95 a pound, up 6 cents.
But football tailgaters won't have to break the bank to enjoy one of their favorites this season. Chicken remains a good deal with fryers holding steady at 91 cents a pound and chicken breasts selling for $1.75 a pound, down 6 cents. Fans who like deviled eggs with their fried chicken, however, can expect to pay more this month. For September, the average price of a dozen eggs was 88 cents, up a dime from August.
In the dairy case, average prices dipped 1 percent thanks to slight savings on milk, ice cream and butter. A half- gallon of milk was $1.74, down 2 cents; a half-gallon of ice cream was $2.72, down 3 cents; and a pound of butter was $2.38, down 4 cents.
Regional reports collected from around the state Sept. 1-9 showed the market basket total averaged $36.81 in northwest Alabama, $37.15 in central Alabama, $37.28 in south Alabama, and $37.49 in northeast Alabama.