ALABAMA FOOD PRICES DOWN FOR JUNE
MONTGOMERY, Ala.-- Savings on beef and produce pushed Alabama food prices 3.7 percent lower in June, according to the Alabama Farmers Federation's monthly food price survey. The survey, which was conducted by volunteer shoppers around the state June 1-8, showed the cost of 20 basic market basket items averaged $43.74 this month, down $1.68 from May.
Beef prices dropped 11 percent in June as retailers offered specials to attract shoppers. U.S. Department of Agriculture officials, however, predict beef prices will remain strong throughout 2005 due to high demand and dry weather conditions in the western United States. At Alabama supermarkets, T-bone steaks averaged $7.54 a pound this month, down $1.31, while chuck roasts averaged $3.07 a pound, down 19 cents. Ground beef also was less expensive at $2.16 a pound, down 2 cents. Elsewhere in the meat case, pork prices were mixed with pork chops averaging $3.31 a pound, up 43 cents, while bacon was down 17 cents to $3.16 a pound. Boston butts also were less expensive at $1.61 a pound, down 3 cents.
Meanwhile, poultry prices posted modest gains with whole fryers ringing in at 96 cents a pound, up 3 cents, while chicken breasts averaged $1.84 a pound, up 6 cents. In addition, shoppers reported the lowest egg prices of the year at 78 cents a dozen, down 9 cents.
On the produce aisle, the arrival of tomatoes and vegetables from California brought some relief to high prices that began when hurricanes cut Florida tomato production last fall and continued when heavy rains cut harvest season short in Mexico. Now, California officials say cool weather is delaying tomato harvest in that state. Still, Alabama shoppers were pleased to see tomato prices fall 35 cents to $1.61 a pound in June, while lettuce prices were down 10 cents to $1.30 a head. Red potatoes also were a bargain at 73 cents a pound, down a nickel, and sweet potatoes were 2 cents cheaper at 82 cents a pound.
In the dairy case, butter was slightly less expensive at $3.16 a pound, down 4 cents, and a half-gallon of ice cream was down 5 cents to $3. The average price of milk, however, was up a penny to $2.07 for a half-gallon.
Regional reports collected around the state showed the market basket averaged $41.36 in northwest Alabama, $43.64 in the central counties, $44.38 in the northeast corner of the state and $45.62 in south Alabama.