SAVINGS ON POULTRY, BEEF OFFSET HIGHER DAIRY PRICES
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Savings on poultry products, tomatoes and certain cuts of beef offset higher prices for dairy products this month as Alabama shoppers saw their total food bills decline one-tenth of 1 percent. According to the Alabama Farmers Federation's monthly food price survey, the average cost of 20 basic market basket items was $48.97 the first week of June, down 6 cents from a month ago.
Falling poultry prices helped to ease the burden at checkout as whole fryers dropped 4 cents to $1.11 a pound. Chicken breasts were down 16 cents to $2.18 a pound, and eggs were 9 cents cheaper at $1.30 a dozen. Families could also find bargains at the meat counter as prices of less-expensive beef cuts fell for the second month in a row. At Alabama supermarkets, ground beef averaged $2.12 a pound, down 4 cents, and chuck roasts were down 20 cents, to $2.98 a pound. Pork chops were a dime lower at $3.22 a pound, but bacon was up 15 cents to $3.50 a pound, and Boston butts were up 4 cents to $1.77 a pound. T-bone steaks also were higher this month at $8.49 a pound, an increase of 11 cents.
In the dairy case, rising international demand for milk products coupled with higher production costs pushed dairy prices to their highest levels of the year. A half-gallon of milk was up 9 cents to $2.85, and ice cream was up 20 cents to $4.09 a half-gallon. Butter was a penny higher at $3.27 a pound.
On the produce aisle, increased summer production caused tomato prices to retreat after a big increase in May. The average price of tomatoes was $1.53 a pound, down 33 cents. Red potatoes, however, were up 2 cents to 73 cents a pound, and lettuce was up 7 cents to $1.26 a head. Sweet potatoes also were up 4 cents to 88 cents a pound.
Regional reports collected by volunteer shoppers June 1-8 showed the market basket averaged $47.05 in northwest Alabama, $49.21 in the northeast corner of the state, $48.84 in the central counties and $52.78 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, farmers and ranchers receive only 19 cents out of every retail dollar spent on food, while 81 cents go to off-farm costs associated with marketing, processing and distributing food. In 1980, farmers received 31 cents out of every food dollar.