ALABAMA FOOD PRICES EDGE 1.3 PERCENT HIGHER
"Montgomery, Ala." Rebounding pork and produce prices combined to increase shoppers? total food bill by 1.3 percent in July, according to the Alabama Farmers Federation?s monthly food price survey. Reports collected at supermarkets throughout the state July 2-9 showed the average cost of 20 basic market basket items was $37.51 this month, up 49 cents from June, but down $1.01 from the same period last year.
The popularity of pork for summertime cookouts fueled increased demand this month, which helped reverse a three-month slide in pork prices. Pork chops averaged $2.97 a pound, up 31 cents, and bacon was 18 cents higher at $2.69 a pound. Savvy shoppers could find bargains, though, as Boston butts rang in at $1.41 a pound, down 9 cents.
Poultry also was a good buy this month with chicken breasts averaging $1.59 a pound, down 9 cents, while fryers dipped a penny to 86 cents a pound. Beef prices were basically unchanged with T-bone steaks selling for $6.36 a pound and ground beef averaging $1.57 a pound, both down 3 cents. Chuck roasts were more expensive at $2.51 a pound, up 13 cents.
On the produce aisle, prices bounced back after sharp declines in June. Tomatoes tipped the scales at $1.21 a pound, up 13 cents, and lettuce was a nickel higher at 95 cents a head. Red potatoes averaged 72 cents a pound, up 4 cents.
Meanwhile, a surplus of cheese and butter continued to put downward pressure on dairy prices. This month, milk averaged $1.78 a half-gallon, down 4 cents, while butter was unchanged at $2.48 a pound. Ice cream was 2 cents cheaper at $2.90 a half-gallon, and a 1-pound carton of cottage cheese was $1.71, down 6 cents.
Regional reports collected by volunteer shoppers throughout the state showed the market basket averaged $34.86 in northwest Alabama, $37.30 in the northeast corner of the state, $38.80 in the central counties and $39.74 in south Alabama.