ALABAMA FOOD PRICES UP FOR OCTOBER
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Skyrocketing tomato prices coupled with modest gains for meat and poultry pushed Alabama food prices 4.5 percent higher in October, according to the Alabama Farmers Federation's monthly food price survey. Reports collected by volunteer shoppers across the state Oct. 1-8 showed the average cost of 20 basic market basket items was $45.55 this month, up $1.99 from September.
|Skyrocketing tomato prices coupled with modest gains for meat and poultry pushed Alabama food prices 4.5 percent higher in October.|
Heavy rains that delayed tomato planting in California followed by dry weather and late-season storms in the East are blamed for the jump in tomato prices, which were as high as $3 a pound at some supermarkets. On average, Alabama tomato prices were $2.40 a pound in October, up $1.01 from a month ago. Other produce faired better, however, with lettuce averaging $1.24 a head, down 19 cents. Red potatoes were unchanged at 81 cents a pound, and sweet potatoes were down 3 cents to 79 cents a pound.
At the meat counter, beef and pork prices edged higher with pork chops selling for $3.02 a pound, up 3 cents. Bacon was up 4 cents to $3.23 a pound, and Boston butts increased 3 cents to $1.69 a pound. T-bone steaks topped $8 for the first time this year, averaging $8.06 a pound, up 11 cents from September. Ground beef was 17 cents more expensive at $2.16 a pound, and chuck roasts were up 29 cents to $3.24 a pound. Poultry was a better buy with whole fryers averaging 96 cents a pound, down 7 cents, but chicken breasts were up 26 cents to $2.25 a pound. Eggs were a bargain this month at 95 cents a dozen, down a nickel.
In the dairy case, a half-gallon of milk averaged $2.05, a half-gallon of ice cream was $3.35 and butter scanned in at $2.69 a pound -- all up 7 cents.
Regional reports collected around the state showed the market basket averaged $43.86 in northwest Alabama, $45.53 in the central counties, $46.52 in the northeast corner of the state and $46.58 in south Alabama.
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.