SHOPPERS FIND SAVINGS DESPITE HIGHER FOOD TOTAL
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Alabama shoppers could find savings on every aisle of the supermarket this month, despite an overall increase in the average cost of 20 basic market basket items. According to the Alabama Farmers Federation's monthly food price survey, the market basket averaged $49.03 in May, up 47 cents or 1 percent from April.
|Prices for the ingredients in an all-American, bacon cheeseburger were mixed in May -- much like the average market basket. Shoppers enjoyed savings on ground beef, bacon and lettuce while prices were up for tomatoes.|
High international demand for meat and poultry, combined with skyrocketing energy costs and persistent drought in the South and West, continued to put pressure on food prices. In general, high-value meat cuts were more expensive this month, while prices retreated for ground beef and roasts. At the meat counter, bacon was the best buy at $3.35 a pound, down 18 cents, and Boston butts were down a nickel to $1.73 a pound. Chuck roasts also were 13 cents cheaper at $3.18 a pound, and ground beef was down 7 cents to $2.16 a pound. T-bone steaks, however, jumped 33 cents to $8.38 a pound, and pork chops were up 14 cents to $3.32 a pound. Poultry prices were higher as well with whole fryers averaging $1.15 a pound, up 12 cents, while chicken breasts were up 9 cents to $2.34 a pound. Eggs edged 2 cents higher to $1.39 a dozen
On the produce aisle, dry weather put the squeeze on tomato supplies, pushing prices higher. Across the state, tomatoes averaged $1.86 a pound, up 31 cents, and sweet potatoes were up 12 cents to 84 cents a pound. Lettuce, though, was down 32 cents to $1.19 a head, and red potatoes were a good buy at 71 cents a pound, down 8 cents.
In the dairy case, butter prices rebounded in May after falling last month. On average, butter was up 31 cents to $3.26 a pound. The increase more than offset savings of 13 cents for a half-gallon of ice cream, which fell to $3.89. Milk was up slightly to $2.76 a half-gallon, a difference of 2 cents from last month.
Regional reports collected by volunteer shoppers May 1-8 showed the market basket averaged $47.05 in northwest Alabama, $47.79 in the northeast corner of the state, $50.42 in the central counties and $52.14 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. On average, farmers receive about 19 cents of every dollar spent on food.