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November 17, 2000   Email to Friend 

Jeff Helms
(334) 613-4212
November 17, 2000

"Montgomery, Ala." Alabama families can expect to pay more for a traditional Thanksgiving meal this year, according to the Alabama Farmers Federation's monthly food price survey.

Reports collected from around the state Nov. 1-9 showed the prices of six staples of holiday cooking were up 6.5 percent over last year. Meanwhile, the average cost of 20 basic market basket items was $37.25, up 2.3 percent from October.

The centerpiece of the harvest feast, the whole turkey, was only slightly higher than a year ago at 95 cents a pound, up 6 cents. But smoked hams climbed to $1.44 a pound, up 18 cents. Of course you can't have a Thanksgiving meal without cranberry sauce, and it, too, was more expensive at 93 cents a can, up 7 cents. A pound of stuffing mix averaged $2.80, up 13 cents. Holiday pies also will be richer this year, with a pound of pecans averaging $6.65, up 31 cents. Sweet potatoes were 72 cents a pound, up 7 cents.

Shoppers looking to gobble up savings this month will want to stop at the poultry case, where fryers were 88 cents a pound, down 4 cents, and chicken breasts were a penny cheaper at $1.73 a pound.

On most supermarket aisles, however, bargains were rare in November as seasonal increases for vegetables and strong demand for meats pushed prices higher.

At the meat counter, a 16-cent-per-pound increase in the price of Boston butts led a 2.2 percent increase in pork prices. Ironically, chuck roasts were 24 cents a pound cheaper. But those savings were offset by higher prices for T-bone steaks and ground beef.

In the dairy case, a 19-cent jump in the price of ice cream cancelled out savings on milk and butter. Ice cream was $2.78 a half-gallon while milk was 4 cents cheaper at $1.73 a half-gallon. Butter was $2.39 a pound, down 6 cents. Eggs also were higher at 95 cents a dozen, up 8 cents. On the produce aisle, cold weather drove the price of tomatoes to $1.59 a pound, up 53 cents, while the prices of most other vegetables were basically unchanged. Regional reports from around the state showed that the market basket averaged $35.79 in south Alabama, $36.75 in northwest Alabama, $36.82 in central Alabama and $38.38 in northeast Alabama.

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