SAVINGS ON EGGS OFFSET HIGHER PRICES FOR PORK
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Higher prices for pork products were offset by savings on eggs this month as Alabama food prices edged six-tenths of 1 percent higher. According to the Alabama Farmers Federation's monthly food price survey, the average cost of 20 basic market basket items was $43.80 in May, up 26 cents from last month.
Announcements by major poultry producing companies that they would cut production in response to declining export sales helped to stabilize prices at the meat counter this month. In recent months, a national oversupply of poultry products put downward pressure on retail prices of chicken and other meat products. Reduced poultry production in the remainder of 2006 will mean shoppers aren't likely to see a huge drop in meat prices, but experts say grocery store chains are likely to feature both beef and poultry in sales promotions as grilling season heats up.
This month, pork prices increased 5.1 percent with chops averaging $3.08 a pound, up 20 cents. Bacon was 3 cents higher at $3.19 a pound, and Boston butts were up 14 cents to $1.70 a pound. Meanwhile, the price spread between USDA "choice" and "select" beef products increased as retailers offered savings on lower-value cuts in response to increased competition from chicken. In Alabama, T-bone steaks averaged $7.65 a pound, up 27 cents, while ground beef was down 6 cents to $2.12 a pound. Chuck roasts also were less expensive at $2.98 a pound, down 4 cents. Poultry prices were mixed with chicken breasts averaging $2.09 a pound, down a nickel, while whole fryers were up 8 cents to $1.05 a pound. Eggs were a bargain at 92 cents a dozen, down 13 cents from a month ago.
On the produce aisle, red potatoes fell 30 cents to 86 cents a pound, after a spike in April. Tomato prices were unchanged at $1.56 a pound, and lettuce was up 16 cents to $1.35 a head. Sweet potatoes, however, were down 8 cents to 71 cents a
In the dairy case, prices were basically unchanged from April. A half-gallon of milk averaged $2.01, down 2 cents; a half-gallon of ice cream was $3.38, up a penny; and butter scanned in at $2.71 a pound, the same as last month.
Regional reports collected by volunteer shoppers May 1-10 showed the market basket averaged $41.92 in northwest Alabama, $43.60 in the central counties, $45.04 in the northeast corner of the state and $45.84 in south Alabama.