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September 19, 2007   Email to Friend 

Jeff Helms
(334) 613-4212
September 19, 2007

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Seasonal savings on meat products brought relief to Alabama food budgets this month as the average cost of 20 basic market basket items fell 1.6 percent, according to the Alabama Farmers Federation's monthly food price survey. The survey, which was conducted by volunteer shoppers across the state Sept. 1-8, showed the market basket averaged $50.62 in September, down 83 cents from last month.

Perry Mobley, director of the Federation's Beef and Dairy Divisions, said increased cattle and hog inventories in autumn combined with falling demand following grilling season, tend to result in lower meat prices this time of year. In Alabama, this trend was evident in September as shoppers enjoyed savings on almost every aisle of the supermarket.

At the meat counter, beef prices declined an average of 10 cents per pound with T-bone steaks selling for $8.15 a pound, down 13 cents, while chuck roasts were down 16 cents to $3.09 a pound. Ground beef was 3 cents cheaper at $2.13 a pound. Meanwhile, bacon prices dropped 20 cents to $3.78 a pound, and Boston butts were down 2 cents to $1.84 a pound, but pork chops were up slightly to $3.34 a pound, an increase of 6 cents. Whole fryers and chicken breasts each fell 4 cents to $1.13 and $2.26 per pound, respectively. Eggs, however, were up 8 cents to $1.62 a dozen.

On the produce aisle, savings on tomatoes and potatoes offset higher prices for lettuce. Tomatoes averaged $1.42 in September, down 9 cents, and red potatoes were a penny cheaper at 69 cents a pound. Sweet potatoes edged 2 cents lower to 90 cents a pound, but lettuce was up 12 cents to $1.44 a head.

Prices moderated in the dairy case this month following a substantial increase in August. On average, name-brand ice cream was down a dime to $4.22 a half-gallon, while milk fell 3 cents to $3.12 a half-gallon. Butter prices dropped 13 cents to $3.44 a pound.

Regional reports collected throughout the state showed the market basket averaged $49.45 in northwest Alabama, $50.23 in the northeast corner of the state, $51.05 in the central counties and $52.34 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, U.S. consumers spend just 10 percent of their disposable income on food, compared to 14 percent in Japan, 20 percent in Israel, 26 percent in China, 39 percent in the Philippines and 55 percent in Indonesia.

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