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April 16, 2003   Email to Friend 

ALABAMA FOOD PRICES EDGE 1.1 PERCENT HIGHER
Jeff Helms
(334) 613-4212
April 16, 2003

According to the Alabama Farmers Federation's monthly food price survey, April prices edged higher on almost every aisle, pushing the average cost of 20 basic market basket items to $38.32, up 41 cents from March but down $1.28 from a year ago.
MONTGOMERY, Ala.-- Smart shoppers could still find bargains at Alabama supermarkets this month despite an overall increase in food prices of 1.1 percent. According to the Alabama Farmers Federation's monthly food price survey, prices edged higher on almost every aisle, pushing the average cost of 20 basic market basket items to $38.32, up 41 cents from March but down $1.28 from a year ago.

The biggest change was on the produce aisle where prices rebounded after plunging sharply in February and March. Tomatoes were 10 cents higher at $1.41 a pound, while lettuce was up a nickel to 98 cents a head. Red potatoes averaged 67 cents a pound, up 3 cents, while sweet potatoes were up 2 cents to 72 cents a pound.

At the butcher's counter, pork prices were mixed with higher prices for bacon offsetting savings on chops. Across the state, pork chops and bacon averaged $2.93 a pound---a 14-cent decrease for chops and a 16-cent increase for bacon. Meanwhile, T-bone steaks were a nickel higher at $6.34 a pound, and ground beef was up 12 cents to $1.58 a pound. Chuck roasts remained a good buy, however, at $2.46 a pound, down 5 cents.

Poultry prices edged higher for the second month in a row with chicken breasts ringing in at $1.68 a pound, up 5 cents. Shoppers also should expect to spend a little more on their Easter egg hunt this year. According to the survey, a dozen eggs averaged 97 cents, up 2 cents from last month and up 12 cents from last Easter (March 2002 survey).

In the dairy case, prices were up five-tenths of 1 percent with butter selling for $2.36 a pound, up a nickel, while a half-gallon of milk averaged $1.76 up a penny. Ice cream was 4 cents cheaper at $3.07 a half-gallon.

Regional reports collected by volunteer shoppers April 1-7 showed the market basket averaged $36.64 in the northwest corner of the state, $37.54 in northeast Alabama, $38.23 in the central counties and $41.30 in south Alabama.


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