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"J. Paul Till, Director, Information Department"
334 613-4313

MONTGOMERY Alabama shoppers are seeing little change in their total food bill for June compared to last month, with the cost of 20 basic market basket items averaging $34.60.

The Alabama Farmers Federation's June survey of food prices in supermarkets statewide indicates overall prices are down from a year ago when the average cost of the same 20 basic market basket items for the typical Alabama consumer was $36.19. The same survey for May 1998 showed the average cost was $34.60, identical to the amount reported for June.

Shoppers saw the biggest price reduction for individual food items this month with egg purchases. Eggs cost an average of 77 cents per dozen, compared to 84 cents in May, a drop of 9.1 percent.

Summer produce has begun to mature and prices have dropped slightly for tomatoes (down to an average of $1.23 per pound) and lettuce (99 cents per head), while prices for other fresh fruits and vegetables rose slightly over the past month.

Consumers are finding good buys in their grocer's meat department. Pork chops ranged from $1.76 per pound to $3.98 per pound, an average decrease of 15 cents per pound over last month.

Despite slightly higher prices for T-bone steak and chuck roasts, farmers realized little additional income from the increases. On average, consumers paid $5.77 per pound for T-bone steak, and $1.89 per pound for chuck roast.

Prices for whole fryers and chicken breast rose slightly over last month with the average consumer paying 85 cents per pound for fryers and $1.72 per pound for chicken breasts. Dairy prices throughout the state showed little change over last month or the previous year with the average price for a gallon of milk recorded at $1.67.

June food price survey results show the market basket costs varied by only pennies throughout the state with a low of $34.44 in northwest Alabama and a high of $34.96 in central Alabama. A typical market basket in the southern area of the state cost $34.59 while the same items in the northeastern area of the state cost only $34.66.

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