ALABAMA FOOD PRICES REBOUND IN FEBRUARY
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Savings on T-bone steaks, bacon and ice cream weren't enough to offset higher prices for eggs, milk and tomatoes this month as Alabama food prices rose 1.6 percent. According to the Alabama Farmers Federation's monthly food price survey, the average cost of 20 basic market basket items was $51.72 the first week of February, up 84 cents from last month.
|After falling last month, tomatoes rebounded at $2.08 per pound.|
Egg prices resumed their upward climb after retreating 15 percent in January. Survey reports collected by volunteer shoppers across the state showed a dozen large eggs averaged $2.05 in February, up 36 cents from a month ago. Experts say animal welfare guidelines approved in 2002 that restricted the number of hens that can be housed together as well as higher feeds costs have put upward pressure on the price of eggs.
Meanwhile, prices at the meat counter were mixed this month with bacon averaging $3.72 a pound, down 7 cents. Boston butts also were less expensive at $1.65 a pound, down 3 cents, but pork chops were up 9 cents to $3.38 a pound. T-bone steaks were the best buy at $8.32 a pound, down 18 cents, but ground beef was up a dime to $2.30 a pound. Chuck roasts were basically unchanged at $3.13 a pound, down a penny. In the poultry case, whole fryers averaged $1.12 a pound, down 3 cents, but chicken breasts were up a nickel to $2.30 a pound.
On the produce aisle, tomatoes rebounded after falling last month. On average, tomatoes scanned in at $2.08 a pound, up 19 cents, while lettuce edged 2 cents higher to $1.35 a head. Red potatoes were down a penny to 68 cents a pound, and sweet potatoes were up 3 cents to 87 cents a pound.
Although experts continue to predict more stable milk prices than in 2007, the average cost of dairy products at Alabama supermarkets increased this month. A half-gallon of milk was up 13 cents to $3.14, and butter was up 5 cents to $3.36 a pound. Cottage cheese also jumped 19 cents to $2.63 a pound, but a half-gallon of brand-name ice cream was slightly cheaper at $4.19, down 5 cents.
Regional reports collected from around the state showed the market basket averaged $50.24 in northwest Alabama, $51.24 in the northeast corner of the state, $52.31 in the central counties and $53.80 in south Alabama.
Alabama Farmers Federation, a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation, is the state's largest farm organization. It conducts its informal monthly market basket survey as a tool to reflect retail food price trends. According to Agriculture Department statistics, 86 percent of all farm products sold in the United States are produced on farms owned by individuals, family partnerships and family corporations. Each American farmer produces enough food and fiber for 143 people in the United States and abroad.