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FOOD PRICES SHOW MODEST INCREASE IN MAY
"J. Paul Till, Director, Information Department"
334 613-4313

MONTGOMERY Alabama shoppers are paying about 1.7 percent more for groceries this month than they did in April, as higher produce prices offset savings at the egg case.

The Alabama Farmers Federation's May food price survey shows the cost of 20 basic market basket items averaging $34.60 statewide, up 58 cents from last month and up $1.80 from a year ago.

Salad eaters saw the biggest increase in their grocery bills, as the price of iceberg lettuce climbed 25 cents a head, up 26 percent from April. A 5.6 percent overall increase in produce prices this month can be blamed on the same heavy rains that wiped out California's romaine lettuce crop and forced restaurants to stop serving Caesar salads when prices shot up 80 percent. Alabama's strawberry harvest is in full swing, and farmers markets are gearing up for a good crop of fresh fruits and vegetables.

At the egg case, prices stabilized this month after a sharp increase in April, falling 17.9 percent to 84 cents a dozen.

Despite sagging cattle and hog prices, consumers paid slightly more for beef and pork at the meat counter in May. Beef prices were up 2.4 percent and pork was 1.4 percent higher. Poultry prices were unchanged from April.

Meanwhile, a 2 percent increase in the price of dairy products this month supports a recent General Accounting Office report that shows the gap widening between farm and retail milk prices. According to the report, farmers received an average of $1.31 for a gallon of milk. The national average retail price was $2.60 a gallon--a 16 percent higher price spread than in 1991.

May food price survey results show the market basket averaged $34.26 in central Alabama, $34.39 in northwest Alabama, $34.81 in south Alabama and $35.03 in northeast Alabama.


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