ALABAMA FOOD PRICES LOWER IN JUNE
MONTGOMERY, Ala., June 13 -- June brought relief for Alabama families pinched by skyrocketing gas prices as the average cost of 20 basic grocery items fell 32 cents at supermarkets across the state. The Alabama Farmers Federation's monthly food price survey, showed the market basket averaged $51.74 this month, down six-tenths of 1 percent from May's average.
Savings on eggs and bacon accounted for most of the difference, but prices for several items were unchanged. Surveys conducted by volunteer shoppers throughout the state June 1-10 showed bacon averaged $3.43 a pound, down 30 cents, and eggs were down 17 cents to $1.56 a dozen.
Prices for other meat and poultry items were mixed with pork chops averaging $3.32 a pound, up 3 cents, and T-bone steaks ringing in at $8.87 a pound, up 18 cents. Chuck roasts were up 4 cents to $3.26 a pound, but that was offset by ground beef, which dropped 4 cents to $2.23 a pound. Boston butts were unchanged at $1.76 a pound. Whole fryers also remained steady at $1.13 a pound, but chicken breasts were down 8 cents to $2.09 a pound.
On the produce aisle, the news of salmonella in certain raw tomatoes came too late to have an impact on June prices. However, Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Ron Sparks issued a statement this week assuring shoppers that Alabama-grown tomatoes are among those on the Food and Drug Administration's "safe-to-eat" list. In addition to looking for the Alabama-grown label in supermarkets, shoppers can find information about local farmers markets, U-pick operations and roadside stands online at www.buylocalalabama.com.
Meanwhile, the June food price survey showed tomatoes averaging $1.87 a pound, up 12 cents, while lettuce was down a nickel to $1.32 a head. Red potatoes were unchanged at 75 cents a pound, and sweet potatoes were up 6 cents to 95 cents a pound.
In the dairy case, milk prices fell for the second straight month with a half-gallon averaging $3.04, down 4 cents. A half-gallon of name-brand ice cream was unchanged at $4.22, but cottage cheese was up 7 cents to $2.61 a pound. Butter was down 8 cents to $3.36 a pound.
Regional reports collected throughout the state showed the market basket averaged $50.05 in northeast Alabama, $51.62 in the northwest corner of the state, $52.30 in the central counties and $54.41 in south Alabama.
Alabama Farmers Federation, a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation, is the state's largest farm organization. Its volunteer members conduct the informal monthly market basket survey as a tool to reflect retail food price trends. While the food price survey shows that Alabama grocery prices have increased about 1.7 percent during the first six months of 2008, farm level production expenses are up 8.6 percent from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2007 projections. For every dollar spent on food, the farmer receives about 19 cents, from which he must pay all of his expenses.