"SAVINGS ON MEAT, POULTRY HELP FEBRUARY FOOD BUDGETS"
"MONTGOMERY, Ala." Food prices at Alabama supermarkets fell for the first time since October as savings on meat and poultry cut the average grocery bill by 2.3 percent in February. According to the Alabama Farmers Federation's monthly food price survey, the cost of 20 basic market basket items was $36.95, down 87 cents from last month, but still 5 percent higher than last February's total of $35.17.
T-bone steaks were the best buy at $6.04 a pound, down 45 cents from January. Overall, beef prices fell 3.8 percent as ground beef held steady at $1.62 a pound and chuck roasts edged 7 cents higher to $2.32 a pound.
Beef, however, wasn't the only meat on the bargain menu this month. Poultry prices also were down 9.7 percent as chicken breasts fell to $1.69 a pound, down 34 cents. Fryers were slightly higher at 92 cents a pound while eggs were a cool 87 cents a dozen, down 30 cents from last month. Pork prices, meanwhile, were off about 1 percent with shoppers enjoying savings of 9 cents per pound on Boston butts. Bacon was 3 cents cheaper at $2.60 a pound, but pork chops were up 6 cents to $2.73 a pound.
On the produce aisle, higher prices for lettuce more than offset savings on tomatoes and red potatoes. Overall, fruits and vegetables were 2.3 percent higher with lettuce selling for $1.12 a head, up 21 cents. Tomatoes were $1.21, down 14 cents, while red potatoes weighed in at 55 cents a pound, down 3 cents.
Dairy prices were basically unchanged in February with a half-gallon of milk averaging $1.76. Butter was up 2 cents a pound, while cottage cheese was a penny higher at $1.74 for a one-pound carton. In the frozen food case, ice cream was 4 cents higher at $2.89 for a half-gallon.
Regional reports collected from around the state Feb. 5-12 showed the market basket averaged $35.74 in central Alabama, $35.84 in the northwest corner of the state, $37.12 in the southern counties and $38.17 in northeast Alabama.