SHOPPERS FIND BARGAINS AS POULTRY AND PORK PRICES DECLINE
MONTGOMERY, Ala. Alabama shoppers found bargains in the meat case this month as poultry and pork prices dropped from April. A cool wet spring, which delayed planting for some Alabama farmers, likely is responsible for continued high prices of some fresh produce. However, overall prices rose only slightly from April -- about 1 percent -- for the cost of 20 basic market basket items included in a monthly food price survey conducted by volunteer shoppers for the Alabama Farmers Federation. The market basket averaged $45.42 this month, up 34 cents from April. Shoppers paid an average of $45.02 for the same items in May 2004.
Prices for poultry, including whole fryers and chicken breasts, dropped this month. On average shoppers paid 93 cents per pound for fryers in May-- a penny less per pound than April, but the big savings was in chicken breasts where prices dropped from $2.11 last month to $1.78 a pound this month.
Just in time for spring barbecues, pork prices dropped 2 percent over last month, with pork chops averaging $2.88 per pound -- a drop of 30 cents per pound from April. Boston butts also dropped significantly, from $1.72 per pound last month, to $1.64 per pound this month. Bacon prices didn't follow the trend, however, it jumped from an average price of $3.11 last month to $3.33 in May.
A strong demand for beef kept prices up this month, as shoppers paid an average of $8.85 per pound for T-bone steaks, $2.18 per pound for ground beef and $3.26 per pound for chuck roasts. Last month's prices were $8.35, $2.22 and $3.05 respectively -- an overall increase of just more than 5 percent.
Prices for red potatoes, tomatoes and sweet potatoes all rose slightly in May, while lettuce dropped from $1.65 last month to $1.40 this month. Dairy prices showed little change in the survey, up only 1 percent in this month's survey. On average, shoppers paid $2.06 per half-gallon of milk, $3.05 per half-gallon of ice cream, $3.20 per pound for butter and $1.96 for a pint of cottage cheese.
Regional reports from around the state were collected May 1-7 and showed the market basket averaged $43.53 in northwest Alabama, $45.35 in the central counties, $45.80 in the northeast corner of the state and $47.25 in south Alabama.