SHOPPERS SAVE ON PORK, DAIRY PRODUCTS
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Lower prices for pork and dairy products pushed average Alabama food prices seven-tenths of 1 percent lower this month. According to the Alabama Farmers Federation's monthly food price survey, the average cost of 20 basic market basket items was $43.23 in August, down 29 cents from a month ago.
|Alabama shoppers saved on dairy products this month, although USDA predicts prices will increase later this year as hot, humid weather cuts production.|
Ironically, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that an oversupply of poultry has contributed to the decline in pork prices. "Strong competition from good availability of ... beef and poultry as well as the availability of larger quantities of pork products than last year, are the likely factors that held retail pork prices below a year ago," stated an Economic Research Service report recapping retail prices for the first half of 2006.
In Alabama, pork prices fell 5 percent in August with pork chops averaging $2.89 a pound, down 23 cents. Bacon was 12 cents cheaper at $3.12 a pound, and Boston butts were down 4 cents to $1.60 a pound.
Another bright spot for shoppers this month was the dairy case. Although USDA predicts prices to increase later this year as hot, humid weather cuts production, average prices this month were down 3.4 percent. Surveys collected statewide showed a half-gallon of milk averaged $2, down 4 cents from July, while a half-gallon of ice cream dropped 13 cents to $3.25. Butter prices also were lower at $2.70 a pound, down a nickel.
Meanwhile, beef prices were mixed with T-bone steaks averaging $7.93 a pound, up 11 cents, while chuck roasts were less expensive at $2.85 a pound, down 4 cents. Ground beef was unchanged at $1.95 a pound. Poultry prices also varied with fryers averaging $1.01 a pound, down 4 cents, while chicken breasts were up 16 cents to $2.11 a pound. Eggs were slightly more expensive in August at 98 cents a dozen, up 6 cents.
On the produce aisle, tomatoes were up 7 cents to $1.29 a pound, but lettuce was 4 cents cheaper at $1.18 a head. Red potatoes edged 2 cents higher to 74 cents a pound, and sweet potatoes were up 3 cents to 81 cents a pound.
Regional reports collected by volunteer shoppers Aug. 1-8 showed the market basket averaged $40.72 in northwest Alabama, $43.44 in the northeast corner of the state, $44.35 in south Alabama and $44.43 in the central counties.
Alabama Farmers Federation, a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation, is the state's largest general farm organization. It conducts its informal monthly market basket survey as a tool to reflect retail food price trends. According to Agriculture Department statistics, Americans spend just 9.5 percent of their disposable income on food annually, the lowest average of any country in the world.